60,000 children going missing in India every year a big concern: CJI Thakur
Chief Justice of India T S Thakur today assured Nobel Peace Laureate and Bachpan Bachao Andolan founder Kailash Satyarthi that despite the shortage of judges and other challenges faced, judiciary will continue to be committed, concerned and conscious towards children’s cause.
“We should deliberate whether the problem in tackling the issue of missing and trafficked children, is a lack of commitment or lack of enforcement? There's no dearth of provision of child rights in international policies and in the Indian constitution but the enforcement of laws is not translating into the ground reality. Every year in India 60,000 children go missing and most of them are not traced. Delhi and Maharashtra are two states from where the highest number of children goes missing,” the CJI said inaugurating the National Workshop on Rehabilitation of Trafficked and Missing Children’ at the imposing Vigyan Bhawan in which Supreme Court and High Court judges were present.
The Chief Justice reflected on the extent of the problem of missing and trafficked children and expressed the need for higher sensitivity among the enforcement agencies.
Speaking at the event Satyarthi said, “We express our gratitude to Hon’ble CJI to take up and support the crucial matter of providing speedy justice and rehabilitation of trafficked and missing children. This consultation is crucial towards creating a robust child protection response mechanism for the prevention of trafficking of children, their effective rehabilitation and the related issues. Existing efforts in this regard including repatriation and follow up remain sporadic due to lack of effective intra and inter-state agency coordination and collaboration”.
“STRONG GUIDELINES REQUIRED”
Satyarthi said, “I urge the judiciary to create strong guidelines and directions to establish and ensure - child-friendly court procedures, speedy punishment to offenders and time-bound rehabilitation. Let's ACT together- ie. bring Accountability, Coordination between agencies and optimal use of Technology in to our rehabilitation measures.”
Justice Thakur reiterated Satyarthi’s view to use technology in tracing missing children and called for a people’s movement to tackle this problem.
Highlighting the seriousness of the issue, Satyarthi appealed to the Chief Justice of India to ensure that there should be special courts to deal with the cases of children with the required sensitivity in a time bound manner.
The event hosted by Justice G Rohini, Chief Justice of High Court of Delhi was attended by several dignitaries from judiciary, bureaucracy and civil society. The event is first of its kind of initiative to establish appropriate mechanisms for the rehabilitation and repatriation of children and to ensure the mainstreaming of child survivors into a safe and productive life. This consultation is one of crucial endeavour towards creating a robust child protection response system for the prevention of trafficking of children and their effective rehabilitation, and related issues
The two-day Workshop was organised by the All India Legal Aid Cell on Child Rights together with National Legal Services Authority (NALSA), Delhi State Legal Services Authority and Bachpan Bachao Andolan, is an initiative to establish appropriate mechanisms for the rehabilitation and repatriation of children and to ensure the mainstreaming of child survivors into a safe and productive life.
The technical sessions of the workshop will happen on 23rd August at the Constitution Club, Rafi Marg, New Delhi.
The technical sessions will broadly cover identification of the gaps in the repatriation and rehabilitation of the children, role and responsibilities of the different stakeholders and the way forward. The participants would include the Member Secretaries of the State Legal Services Authorities, officials of the Government Departments, police officials, Chairpersons and Members of Child Welfare Committees, Members of Juvenile Justice Boards, officials of District Child Protection Units, NGOs etc
The objective of the consultation is to focus on streamlining the process of rehabilitation and
Repatriation of missing and trafficked children by:
- Identifying the current gaps and challenges in inter-agency and interstate coordination for the facilitation of rehabilitation and repatriation of missing and trafficked children.
- Ascertaining the specific roles and responsibilities of stakeholders in facilitating a coordinated and convergent approach to rehabilitation and repatriation, and to fix accountability.
- Developing an effective communication and coordination mechanism between the various States and agencies, to strengthen functionality and sustainability of efforts
Satyarthi shared that Bachpan Bachao Andolan’s extensive database covering over 15000 children rescued in past 6 years could play a very vital role in creation of holistic care plans for proper rehabilitation of children. He also supported CJI’s proclamation on the need of appointment of more judges citing that it would facilitate the effective working of the designated special courts for the cases of offences against children.