The Supreme Court of India, has denied permission sought by horse cart owners to use the famous tourist spot, 'Table Land', in Panchghani, for plying their carts. However, it has directed the panchghani municipal council to set out a plan, within six weeks for providing a levelled track for horse carts, within 20 acres demarcated for them, below the Table Land area.
A bench of Chief Justice of India, S A Bobde, Justice B R Gavai and Justice Surya Kant, refused relief to the horse cart owners while hearing a plea filed by Amit Kishan Bagade. It was argued by petitioners that "It is not possible to ply these horse carts over the 20 acres since this land is extremely uneven and unsuitable for horse carts. Instead, they claim that they be allowed to ply their horse carts over the other 80 acres, on a road which might admeasure a total of 2 acres."
The bench though turned down the prayer saying " At this juncture, it is very clear to us that considering the topography, the High Court is right in prohibiting the use of 80 acres table land by the horse cart owners. The High Court is also right in restricting the horse cart owners to the 20 acres of land below the table land."
The counsel for petitioners then pointed out that "Horse cart owners ply their horse carts in order to earn livelihood and if they can't do so, it would result in a denial of livelihood.Tracks that exist on the 20 acres are extremely uneven and at some points dangerous also. The Municipal Council should provide a levelled track so that the horse carts can be plied with ease and safety."
The bench held that there was merits in the arguments made. Even the counsel for the Panchgani council agreed to explore the possibility of providing levelled tracks for the horse cart owners.
After which the court directed the council "Set out a plan for providing a levelled track for horse carts within 20 acres demarcated for horse carts owners. For this purpose, they may explore the possibility of levying some entry fee tax or cess for generating funds for the same. The Municipal Council may also consider providing an alternative livelihood for horse cart owners either by formulating some scheme for purchase of taxis or allotment of shop areas at a suitable place to the petitioners horse cart owners."
The court directed the council to carry out the above exercise and report to this Court within a period of six weeks from today. The Bombay environmental Action Group may also assist the Municipal Council in suggesting Environmental friendly means of livelihood for the horse cart owners.
Horse buggies, were banned from riding on the ecologically sensitive declared northern side of the Panchgani Table Land, after orders were passed by the High court of Bombay, in 2010, on the plea filed by The Bombay Environment Action Group. Horses are allowed to move on designated track over that 80 acres table land.
AMIT KISHAN BAGADE & ORS. VERSUS
BOMBAY ENVIRONMENTAL ACTION GROUP & ORS.
Special Leave to Appeal (C) No(s). 1595/2018
Decided on February 12, 2020.
Bench: HON'BLE THE CHIEF JUSTICE, HON'BLE MR. JUSTICE B.R. GAVAI, HON'BLE MR. JUSTICE SURYA KANT
Advocate for Petitioner: Senior advocate Narender Hooda. Advocate Prashant S Kenjale. advocate Nishant, Advocate Seema, Advocate Rakesh K Sharma.
Advocate for Respondents: Senior advocate Shyam Divan, Advocate Amar Dave, Advocate Mahesh Agarwal, Advocate Rishi Agarwal, Advocate Ayushi Amod, Advocate E C Agarwal.Advocate Rajesh Kumar,Advocate Kunal Cheema. Advocate Venkatesh, Advocate Vokas Maini. Advocate Gurmeet Singh Makker. Advocate Shashibhushan P Adgaonkar.
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