Delhi government’s response sought on monkey catching

New Delhi, Feb 27 (IANS) The Delhi High Court on Monday sought a response from the city government on a plea filed by the South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) seeking to be relieved from the responsibility of catching monkeys which have been creating a menace in many localities.

A division bench of Chief Justice G. Rohini and Justice Sangita Dhingra Sehgal asked the Delhi government to file its reply on the plea by May 2.

The South civic agency, which had been directed by the High Court in March 2007 to catch the monkeys and relocate them near the Asola Bhatti Mines Sanctuary, has been fighting a losing battle.

The civic agency has pleaded that dealing with the monkey menace is the subject matter of the Wildlife Department of the Delhi government.

In an application, filed through advocate Rajan Tyagi, the SDMC has said it has not been able to find trained monkey catchers despite several advertisements in newspapers.

Even after the enhancement of the remuneration for catching monkeys from Rs 800 to Rs 1,200 per monkey the corporation got no response.

“In spite of the efforts made by the SDMC, no monkey catcher has turned up to undertake this work and at present no monkey catcher is available with the corporation. This has resulted in a lot of difficulty in dealing with the problem of monkey menace in the area under its jurisdiction and in turn compliance of the court order,” the agency said in the application.

Seeking modification to the March 14, 2007 High Court order, the SDMC has said the job of catching monkeys comes within the purview of provisions of Wildlife (Protection) Act as the monkey is a protected animal under the act.

The SDMC has said many of the rehabilitated monkeys in Asola Bhatti Mines Sanctuary have started creating trouble in nearby residential areas.

The agency has several times requested the Wildlife Department of the Delhi government to provide training to the monkey catchers and staff of the SDMC in regard to more humane/animal friendly methods of catching monkeys but the request has not been facilitated, stated the application.

The SDMC has said it also requested the wildlife departments of Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Uttarakhand and Rajasthan to provide monkey catchers but no response has been received from these states.