“Seeing the leopard the court staff ran out of the room and locked it from outside and informed us,” G.A. Zala, a forestry official in the western state of Gujarat, told AFP.
With an excited crowd gathering outside the court in the town of Chotila, the big cat was eventually found after three and a half hours hiding under a cupboard.
The animal, thought to be around two to three years old, was tranquilised and was due to be released in a forested area.
India’s environment ministry said in August that 1,144 people were killed between April 2014 and May 2017 by wild animals — an average of more than one a day.
There are an estimated 12,000-14,000 leopards in India, which are frequently killed when they stray into villages. Officials say one is killed on average every day.
Experts say the number of incidents is on the rise due to shrinking forest habitats and urban expansion.