NEW DELHI: "We have seen peacocks on the roads of Delhi ... They are seen without food," judges of the Delhi High Court said today, as they lashed out at the authorities for doing nothing to protect the national bird of India.
Expressing concern over the safety of peacocks including from stray animals in the city's parks, the court sought responses from the Centre and the Delhi government on a PIL seeking steps to protect these birds.
Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar also said they have seen peacocks roaming helplessly in Delhi's Lutyens' zone and issued notice to the Ministry of Environment and Forests, Delhi government, DDA and South Delhi Municipal Corporation directing them to submit a status report in 10 days.
"You have to protect the birds and animals roaming on roads. We have seen peacocks on the roads of Delhi's Lutyens' zone. They are seen without food. Nothing is being done by the authorities," the bench said.
Petitioner Sumita Kapil, a south Delhi resident who claims to be a regular visitor to the Deer Park there, moved the court 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 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.
The petition also sought protection of stray animals by putting them in their shelters so that they neither harm each other, nor get hurt.
The court, on hearing the submissions, observed that the animals and birds needed proper shelter and protection and impleaded the Forest Department of the Delhi, while posting the matter on September 18.
The PIL, filed through advocate Pooja Swami, claimed that there were over 500 pigs and stray dogs in the Deer Park which was forcing a restriction on the movement of peacocks.
It further said that due to the cutting down of trees, peacocks had nowhere to hide but get out of the parks and come on the roads where they were more unsafe.
"The petitioner has seen the stray dogs, monkeys and pigs grow in numbers and spreading all over in Delhi and now there must be more than 500 dogs in Deer Park alone.
"Initially there was a gate and no dogs were allowed inside and the peacocks were safe and moved freely in the park. As there are no gates now, dogs from all around the colonies have open access to the park," it said.
The plea also sought a stoppage of tree cutting and proper guarding of all the entry and exit gates of the park.
"That this is the plight of the national bird that they have to suffer on everyday basis running to take shelter within trees which are cut every day, resulting in increasing dust. Further down towards Rose Garden is a 'Nallah' which has standing water, leading to a horrible stench," it said.