The Delhi High Court has asked the AAP government’s forest department to examine and file a report on relocating monkeys to an alternative site instead of Asola sanctuary as the area was saturated with simians who had moved to nearby colonies and farmhouses. A bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar, while asking the forest department to examine availability of an alternative site, remarked that in time people would be out of Delhi, which would be taken over by landfill sites and monkeys. Directions were also issued to the Wild Life Institute of India (WLII) to expedite the conclusion of the National Institute of Immunology’s (NII) project to research and develop an immune-contraception vaccine to control the population of monkeys in the national capital. The bench also issued a notice to the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) asking for its response on the issue of importing the vaccine as its development would take over five years.
The order was passed after Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Sanjay Jain said he has written to the DCGI on the issue as the cost of importing the vaccine was high and a reply was awaited. The ASG also said the Environment Ministry had released money from its contingency fund to the WLII for starting of the research work by NII, which comes under it. 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 here. In the PIL, an application has been moved by residents of colonies and farmhouses surrounding the Asola sanctuary seeking directions to the authorities to stop relocating the monkeys to the area.