A bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar said these animals need to be "respected" and "given a place to stay", as it pulled up the Delhi government and the municipalities here for "insufficient efforts" in this regard.
The High Court also observed that the authorities were bound to provide a place to them for survival, after it was told by the South Delhi Municipal Committee (SDMC) that it cannot catch the monkeys and relocate them due to lack of monkey- catchers and that this was the job of the Delhi government's wildlife department.
This prompted the bench to say there has been a "steep increase in the number of monkeys who have no place to survive and certainly no access to food."
"Respondents (Delhi government and MCD) are bound to ensure a proper place for survival of these animals who were original inhabitants of land which stand occupied by men in the name of civilisation," it said.
"They are entitled for respect. They also need place to stay. It is a very painful sight for us to see that huge groups of these animals are searching for food in the garbage bin," the bench said, adding "what troubles us is that they have no place and no food. They are in bad shape."
The bench also said there was a 2007 order of this court to all civic agencies for freeing the capital of monkeys in three months.
It directed the concerned officials to appear before it in person and explain the modalities to be worked in this regard and fixed the matter for next hearing on September 26.
The SDMC's inability to catch monkeys and relocate them to the Asola-Bhatti sanctuary in South Delhi had led the court to seek the reply of the Delhi government.
The SDMC had moved an application seeking modification of the high court's March 14, 2007 direction to the municipality to catch monkeys and relocate them.
The SDMC had said the monkey "menace" was growing in residential areas near the Asola-Bhatti sanctuary as the animals relocated there were attacking school-going children and others.
The High Court's 2007 direction to the municipal corporation had come on a petition filed by the residents of the New Friends Colony for direction to the authorities to take steps to deal with the continuing menace of monkeys, stray cattle and dogs and provide them shelter.
It had also sought that the roads and residential areas of Delhi be kept free from monkeys and other animals.
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