The menace posed by the increasing numbers of monkeys and dogs in the national capital on Thursday prompted the Delhi High Court to direct the authorities to prepare a plan to control the population of animals which are known to have attacked people. A bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar said something has to be done by the government and the concerned agencies “as the citizens of Delhi are suffering”.
“Even we are not able to walk out of our houses, as the stray dogs trouble us a lot,” the bench said and cited the example of a high court judge who has been bitten twice by stray dogs while out for a walk. The concerns expressed by the bench were echoed by Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Sanjay Jain, who said he cannot walk to nearby places from his house in the Lutyens’ Zone.
Stressing the emergent need for means to sterilise the animals, the court asked the Wild Life Institute of India (WLII) to expedite the conclusion of the National Institute of Immunology’s (NII) project to develop an immune-contraception vaccine to control the population of monkeys. The bench also directed all the three municipal corporations to “vigorously undertake the task of sterilisation of stray dogs” and asked them to submit their action plan before the next date of hearing on March 7.
“India needs it (sterilisation/vaccination). Because of their menace, the farmers have even stopped farming their land, as they (monkeys and pigs) destroy their crops,” it said. The bench asked the ASG Jain to expeditiously consult with the authorities for development of the vaccine on monkeys. The senior law officer assured that he was trying his best and has also written a letter to the Drug Controller General of India regarding import of the vaccine, adding that a response on this was awaited.
The bench had earlier observed that the problem of rising simian population was not restricted to Delhi alone but was a pan-India issue and the matter for a contraception “cannot brook a delay”. The court had also called for expediting the process of developing such a vaccine for immuno-contraception, which would use an animal’s immune response to prevent pregnancy.
The court was hearing a PIL, filed through advocate Meera Bhatia, seeking directions to the authorities to take steps to deal with the menace of monkeys and dogs at New Delhi. Another plea by advocate Sumita Kapil, a south Delhi resident who claims to be a regular visitor to the Deer Park there, claiming that a large number of dogs, pigs and monkeys were threatening the peacocks, causing them to leave the park and come out on the roads.
The plea has also said the animals were harming environment as their excreta was making it difficult for people to breathe or walk in the park. “The excreta of dogs and pigs are surely not helping in ‘Swachh Bharat Abhiyan’,” it said.