Kuthirai Vandi colonial court of Coimbatore that kept a vigil on horse-drawn carts

restoration on.colonial Kuthirai vandi Court.skyscrapercity.com

Above image: Popular colonial Kuthirai vandi Court building, where the first magistrate court in this part functioned is being renovated and  the work on the structure (built in 1863) will be completed soon. The court in pro-independence day had the rare distinction of punishing mostly horse-cart owners for traffic violations by way of paying hefty fines. As the traffic violation cases involving mainy  Kuthirai Vandis -horse-drawn carts were heard and disposed of with fines decades ago, the name Kuthirai Vandi Court in local parlancehas become synonymous with this court building even today though there are no horse-carts in use here.................

Judiciary's Magistrate  court that functioned here created nightmare among the horse-drawn cart owners (Kuthiraivandi Kararkal in local parlance). When caught for traffic violation in an era when seeing an automobile was a strange thing, the cart owners summoned to the court would leave its gate with their face crestfallen because  they had to pay hefty fine imposed by the presiding Magistrate so that the civic offence won't be repeated by them.

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In those days across the Madras presidency under the British rule, horse and bullock cart was the main mode of transportation  to carry people from one place to another and for  carrying goods, agricultural products, etc.  Big carts drawn by large bulls were widely used in the rural areas. 

After the fall of Tipu Sultan of Mysore in 1799 in the final Anglo-Mysore war, the  Madras Presidency under the East India company annexed the Kongu region  and the Maharajah of Mysore  got back his kingdom through the EIC. Till 1947 in this region colonial rules were in force with respect to revenue, executive and judiciary administration .

Under the British horses were widely used by the European officials  and  others for travel from one town to another town and to pull carts or chariots to travel within the towns. Even when the railway was introduced, for transportation people relied on the horses and bulls to reach interior places. Obviously, British India  had strict laws and rules with respect to domesticated animals used for transportation and agriculture. The town police would frequently stop the carts on the road and check the hooves of both horses and bulls  being used  in public transport.  

In  Coimbatore, regarding public transportation, a lot of rules and laws were in force for regulating the traffic. To begin with the riders needed a horse cart licence (badge) for a small fee to use it to carry people and it was subject to renewal annually. There were  many , maintenance regulations covering the carts and the animals. The owners of the carts had to keep various parts of the carts in good condition -  leaf springs, wooden steel-rimmed wheels, locking-pin, flat- steel tyre, metal insert and most importantly functional  lantern and bell.  No cart would be allowed to move around the town without the lantern on at night. The police were on the beat periodically after sundown.  Working or domesticated animals like  horses and bulls should have proper protection on the hooves, as they work under different conditions. Soil or road conditions make thooves  prone to splitting,  making hoof protection necessary.
Particularly, horseshoe, that is meant to avoid breakage or protect the excessive hoof  wear  due to prolonged use  should be properly nailed through the insensitive hoof wall. Normally, Horses' hooves can become quite worn out when subjected to the added weight and stress of a rider, pack load, cart, or wagon. The shape, weight, and thickness of a horseshoe can significantly affect the horse's gait, besides traction is an important factor.  Most  horseshoes have "caulkins"or calks (blunt projection forged or brazed onto the shoe) protrusions at the toe or heels of the shoe or both for additional traction. Cart owners were not allowed to  use whip or sharp metal objects on the animals to move them fast.

The Kuthirai Vandi Court in Coimbatore during early pre- independence day mostly handled owners of  Kuthirai vandi-horse cart  who violated the laws and rules governing traffic and animal welfare. The police never allowed overloading of carts be they carried people or goods.

When a cart man was caught in violation of these rules, he was punished with a fine which he had to pay in the munsif court (here). Thus the court  that kept a vigil on the "Kudhirai Vandi owners. Sometime he had to leave the cart in the police station till the fines were paid in the court treasury.