RTI Judgement Series: Transferring of Delhi’s 'monkey menace' to the villages
Moneylife Digital Team 07 June 2013

Monkeys caught in Delhi were released in the Asola Wild Life Sanctuary, which the appellant claimed was beyond the capacity of the sanctuary. The CIC directed the PIO to facilitate inspection of the sanctuary by the appellant. This is the 109th in a series of important judgements given by former Central Information Commissioner Shailesh Gandhi that can be used or quoted in an RTI application

The Central Information Commission (CIC), while disposing an appeal, directed the Public Information Officer (PIO) and deputy conservator of forest (South) of Forest & Wildlife Department (FWD) at the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (GNCTD), to facilitate an inspection of Asola Wild Life Sanctuary by the appellant.

 

While giving this judgement on 16 June 2011, Shailesh Gandhi, the then Central Information Commissioner said, “The appellant and the respondent have agreed that the appellant will visit and inspect the sanctuary on 16 June 2010 from 10.00am onwards. The PIO will facilitate an inspection by the appellant on that day.”

 

New Delhi resident Om Prakash Tanwar, on 6 August 2009, sought information about monkeys being caught in Delhi and released in the sanctuary from the Public Information Officer (PIO) of the FWD. Here is the information he sought under the Right to Information (RTI) Act and reply provided by the PIO...

 

a. Approval letter of NGOs/RWA of the area from where monkeys have been taken into possession for release in forest of Tughlakabad range in the last five years.       

PIO's reply: No such reports available on record.

 

b. Copy of delivery receipts issued by the department to MCD and NDMC whenever monkeys were delivered in the aforementioned area in the abovementioned time period.      

PIO's reply: Copy of such receipts not maintained. Same may be obtained from the Veterinary Department of MCD.

 

c. Areas where monkeys are kept, if open then the mechanism used to stop them from fleeing the forest area.         

PIO's reply: The object of releasing them is to rehabilitate them in natural habitat and not subject them to any restraint.

 

d. Details of last five years as to date of visit of officials (name/ designation/ vehicle number) to catch monkeys in the area and total number caught.     

PIO's reply: No monkeys have been caught by this Department.

 

e. Number of monkeys present in forest area and total number that have fled.  

PIO's reply: No such reports available on record.

 

f. Number of people engaged in looking after the monkeys, names, designation and salaries of the last five years.       

PIO's reply: No person specifically deputed to look after the monkeys. However, they are fed by 15-20 labourers who are supervised by. Dharam Singh, Dy. Range Officer, Asola Bhatti range and Shri Kesar Singh, Forest Guard, Mali. Salaries drawn cannot be disclosed.

 

g. Expenses incurred in keeping monkeys alive in forest range in the last five years.

PIO's reply: Requisite information already provided. Inspection of the books of account maybe done and copies be obtained.

 

h. Number of water ponds, reservoirs created for providing drinking water to the monkeys.  

PIO's reply: None has been created.

 

i. Copies of original bills submitted by suppliers to the department for release of payment against feeding material for monkeys.     

PIO's reply: Same as (g) above.

 

j. Number of suppliers supplying feeding materials. Specify owners name, address and reasons for selecting these agencies only for the supply.

PIO's reply: Feed is procured from Kendriya Bhandar (grains/cereals) and from APMC, Azadpur(Fruits/vegetables). Procurement is being done from being reputed suppliers at reasonable rates.

 

k. Any publishing done by the department inviting open tender from the market with respect to supply feeding material for the monkeys in forest area.   

PIO's reply: NO

 

l. Inspection of entire files relating to supply of feeding material bills, receipts etc, and also of living conditions of the monkeys and new monkeys coming from different parts of Delhi.    

PIO's reply: Relevant records may be perused on any working day in office. Current file relating to procurement if unavailable due to being in submission before a higher authority shall be made available immediately on receipt of the same.

 

Claiming that the PIO did not reply within the mandated 30 days as per the RTI Act, Tanwar, the applicant filed his first appeal. The First Appellate Authority (FAA) in his order asked the deputy conservator of forest for south and PIO to make arrangement for inspection of the concerned files/records by Tanwar.

 

Still not satisfied with the information provided by the PIO, the applicant approached the CIC with his second appeal.

 

During the hearing, Mr Gandhi, the then CIC, noted that the PIO has provided the information to Tanwar. However, after the inspection and obtaining the information, Tanwar, the appellant had serious problem with “transferring Delhi's problem to villagers”.
 

The PIO stated that as per the order from the high court, monkeys were being caught in Delhi and released in Asola Wild Life Sanctuary, which has an area of 7,000 acres. The total number of monkeys released in the sanctuary so far was over 12,000, which was in excess of the carrying capacity of the sanctuary.

 

To this, Tanwar stated that “These monkeys are now harassing the villagers around the sanctuary and the exercise appears to be transferring Delhi’s problems to villagers.”

 

He said he would like to inspect the sanctuary to see the condition for which permission had been granted by the Chief Wild Life Warden, however due to a communication gap, he could not inspect it.

 

Both the appellant and the PIO agreed that Tanwar would visit the sanctuary for inspection on 16 June 2010. He would meet Dharam Singh, deputy range officer at Bhatti Range Office on the day. The PIO also pointed out that the monkeys in the wild life sanctuary can at times be violent and there may be some danger in visiting the sanctuary. Tanwar stated that he understood this.

 

While disposing the appeal, Mr Gandhi directed the PIO to facilitate an inspection by the appellant on 16 June 2010.

 

CENTRAL INFORMATION COMMISSION

 

Decision No. CIC/SG/A/2010/001052/8124

https://ciconline.nic.in/cic_decisions/CIC_SG_A_2010_001052_8124_M_36311.pdf

Appeal No. CIC/SG/A/2010/001052

 

Appellant                                          : Om Prakash Tanwar

                                                            New Delhi- 110074.

 

Respondent                                       : Prabhat Tyagi

                                                            Public Information Officer &  

                                                            Dy. Conservator of Forest (South)

                                                            Forest & Wildlife Department,

                                                            Government of NCT of Delhi,

                                                            Near Karni Singh Shooting Range,

                                                            Tughlaqabad, New Delhi-44.

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