Thursday, January 19, 2006
The Delhi High Court expressed its displeasure to the civic authorities on their continued failure to resolve the problem of marauding monkeys in the court premises. The court was in session when the public interest litigation filed by a Supreme Court lawyer was brought to its attention.
The petitioner Mr.Nirmal Chopra argued the case and explained how the simians showed up during work hours and attacked people and snatched food from them. The rhesus monkeys have also been blamed for damaging furniture belonging to the lawyers and courtroom fixtures such as electrical fittings. According to Mr.Chopra India’s Wildlife Act of 1972 empowers civic authorities to kill or hunt animals when they endanger human life. He said that the lawyers from the Tis Hazari court had requested the state government and the municipality to tackle the situation but no action had resulted.
The lawyer for the civic authority was quoted by the Press Trust of India as saying that catching monkeys was no longer its responsibility. The court was informed that a monkey catcher hired by the municipality had required 72 stitches after being mauled during an operation. After this incident the work had to be halted because other monkey catchers refused to take up the job.
The court gave the civic authority four more weeks to catch the monkeys that are disrupting work at the Tis Hazari courts. “If you cannot perform your statutory duty, then close down your institution” the court is reported to have told the counsel.
Delhi is known to suffer from trouble brought on by monkeys. The animals are reported to invade homes, schools and government offices in the city. Scores of animals have moved in as the city expands into surrounding forests. In an effort to control the problem, the Delhi administration captured about 500 monkeys and took them to the outskirts of the city last year.