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Last Updated: Wednesday, 18 January 2006, 12:22 GMT
Delhi court ban on errant monkeys
Delhi street monkey
Monkeys have become a major nuisance in Delhi
The High Court in the Indian capital, Delhi, has directed the city's civic authorities to rid the premises of a top court of marauding monkeys.

The court told the authority to catch monkeys who were disrupting work at the Tis Hazari courts within a month.

A petitioner complained that the monkeys were attacking lawyers and their clients and snatching their food.

Delhi suffers from a serious monkey menace, with scores of animals seen across the city.

The monkeys are mostly seen around top government offices.

Petitioner Nirmal Chopra said lawyers at Tis Hazari had asked the state government and the municipality to tackle the simians, but no action had been taken.

Tis Hazari is Asia's largest law complex with 162 courts.

"If you cannot catch monkeys, then better close down your institution," Judges Vijender Jain and Rekha Sharma told the municipality.

The Press Trust of India quoted the municipality's lawyer as saying that catching monkeys was no longer its responsibility.

He told the court that a monkey catcher hired by the municipality had required 72 stitches after being mauled during an operation. Other monkey catchers were reluctant to take up the work.

'Security threat'

Delhi's monkeys have gained a notorious reputation for invading homes, schools and government offices.

The monkeys who have moved into residential areas and official enclaves due to Delhi's shrinking forests, are said to have become a security threat.

Two years ago, the ministry of defence found some of its top secret documents scattered all over the place one morning.

It was blamed on the many rhesus monkeys which flock around the colonial-era building.

The prime minister's office, which is situated in the same block, is also within reach.

A cabinet minister could not enter his official bungalow for months because the monkeys would not let anybody enter the house.

The presidential palace, too, has been targeted and staff there have been forced to employ a dark-faced langur monkey to scare away the rhesus monkeys.

Last year the Delhi administration began a drive to catch the errant monkeys. Some 500 of them were captured and are kept on the outskirts of Delhi.

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