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Delhi HC Issues Directions To Anti Human Trafficking Unit To Streamline The Process of Tracing Missing Children [Read Order]

Karan Tripathi
20 Feb 2020 8:23 AM GMT
Delhi HC Issues Directions To Anti Human Trafficking Unit To Streamline The Process of Tracing Missing Children [Read Order]
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Delhi High Court has issued multiple directions to Anti Human Trafficking Unit (AHTU) of the Delhi Government on order to streamline the process of finding missing children. 

The Division Bench of Justice Manmohan and Justice Sangita Dhingra Sehgal, while issuing these directions, noted that on various occasions the local police / AHTUs functioning at district level are unable to trace missing children, whereas when the investigation is transferred by court to AHTU (Crime), typically the missing children are traced.

The said directions have come in a habeas corpus petition filed by a father, seeking the production of his minor girl-child, who was missing since October 14, 2019.

Considering the sensitive nature of the issues involved in this case, the court had sought certain suggestions from the Delhi Police to improve the process of tracing missing children.

The recommendations and suggestions received from the Delhi Police were recorded by the court in its previous order dated 20/12/2019.

In order to streamline the process of tracing missing children, the court has, therefore, issued the following directions to Delhi Police s week as the Anti Human Trafficking Unit of Delhi Government:

  1. District AHTUs shall henceforth function as a nodal agency for all cases of missing children in the district concerned. The District AHTUs shall work in close coordination with the local police, as well as other agencies, providing expert assistance to Investigating Officers, including in respect of collection and analysis of technical evidence.
  2. In every district, an officer not below the rank of a DCP shall, on a fortnightly basis, review the progress of investigation in every case registered in respect of missing children in the respective districts. Every Investigating Officer shall be responsible for drawing up and maintaining a Guard File for each case being investigated by them. The ACPs of the District AHTU shall be responsible for submission of such file to the superior officer.
  1. Within a period of 48 hours, an officer not below the rank of an ACP should be nominated at every District AHTU, who shall thereafter, on a regular basis, i.e., at least twice a month, analyse the pending as well as closed cases of missing children to identify patterns or other circumstances indicating the likelihood of links to trafficking or organised crime.
  2. In cases where there are indications of links to trafficking or organised crime, appropriate steps ought to be taken, including gathering such additional intelligence as may be necessary, and launching operations no later than within 24 hours to apprehend persons involved, and to rescue the missing children.
  3. Within a period of 48 hours, an officer not below the rank of an Addl. DCP shall be nominated in each district, who shall thereafter hold at least one meeting each month with ACP (AHTU) and the SHOs concerned, to identify sections of their respective districts that are worst affected in terms of missing children
  4. An appropriate action plan shall be drawn up with inputs from other stakeholders such as NGOs and community leaders for steps to be taken in this regard. The officer concerned shall regularly, i.e., at least once a month review the implementation of the plan, making such changes as are necessary depending on the circumstances as may arise.
  5. As and when a child is placed in a Children Home, the team shall interact with the children within a period of 24 hours, to find details of their family members / acquaintances, in order that steps may be taken towards restoring them. This exercise shall be undertaken in respect of children already placed in Children Home within 72 hours from today.
  6. Inspector (AHTU) shall also be responsible to ensure that all details as can be ascertained from / about the children and photographs of the children rescued, are promptly, and in any event not later than within 24 hours from the children being placed in the Homes, uploaded by them on the Zonal Integrated Police Network (ZIPNET).
  1. Within a period of one week, appropriate mechanisms ought to be put in place, including weekly training, to ensure that the District AHTUs themselves have a robust system to obtain and analyse CDRs of suspects at the earliest during the course of investigation.
  2. It was submitted by Delhi Police that investigation in cases involving missing children is travelling-intensive. It is submitted that the cost of travel becomes prohibitively expensive, especially in view of a lengthy process of claiming reimbursement from the Department. Therefore, Delhi Police is directed to implement within a period of four weeks the entering into an arrangement with a radio-taxi / cab service providers after due consultation with the Finance and other departments.
  3. Ministry of Railways is directed to have an emergency quota for reservation of tickets for Investigating Officers required to travel outside Delhi
  4. Publication of the information regarding missing children shall be made no later than 72 hours from receipt of information by the Police in this regard.

In light of these directions, the court has ordered both the Delhi Police as well as the Railways Ministry to submit an Action Taken Report before the next date of hearing.

The matter will next be taken up on March 3

Click Here To Download Order

[Read Order]

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