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Prepare SOP For Investigation In Cases Of Missing Persons, Assign Children Missing Cases To Trained Officers: Sikkim HC To Govt, DGP

Sparsh Upadhyay
22 April 2021 5:27 AM GMT
Prepare SOP For Investigation In Cases Of Missing Persons, Assign Children Missing Cases To Trained Officers: Sikkim HC To Govt, DGP
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Dealing with a case related to a 14-year-old girl who is missing since June 2013, the Sikkim High Court last week directed the State Government and Director General to come up with an SOP in the matter of missing persons including children. The Bench of Chief Justice Jitendra Kumar Maheshwari and Justice Meenakshi Madan Rai further directed that the SOP should contain the course...

Dealing with a case related to a 14-year-old girl who is missing since June 2013, the Sikkim High Court last week directed the State Government and Director General to come up with an SOP in the matter of missing persons including children.

The Bench of Chief Justice Jitendra Kumar Maheshwari and Justice Meenakshi Madan Rai further directed that the SOP should contain the course of action required to be followed by the Investigating Officers and their team and if violated, responsibility must be fixed on such Investigating Officers.

The matter before the Court

As stated, the case before the Court was related to a girl Alka Subedi, aged about 14 years, found missing since June 2013 and an FIR was lodged by the mother on 20th June 2013 as Case No. 68/2013 under Section 363 IPC.

As stated in the details of the investigation regarding the said girl, the statement of the mother, father, and one Laxmi of Village Suminkhor (located 7 to 8 kilometers away from the village of the missing girl) was recorded.

It had come out during the course of the investigation that Laxmi had an interaction with the missing girl (Alka), who had disclosed to her that she was the daughter of Shivmaya Subhidi having a mobile and so Laxmi had informed her mother about the same on 17th June 2013.

The investigation was carried out by various officers and subsequently, the case was transferred to the State CID on 19th March 2019.

Court's observations

In view of this, the Court remarked,

"In the investigation, it is not apparent that why the mobile number of the girl was not taken? How the girl had come 7 to 8 kilometres from her village Samdong?"

The Court further noted that the photographs of the girl were taken on the same day i.e., on 20th June 2013 but the same were not communicated to other Police Stations.

Importantly, the Court remarked,

"Investigation must be all-around having a suspicion on everyone in the case of missing a minor girl but the said part is conspicuously missing in the investigation."

Further, having heard the Additional Advocate General, along with the In-charge Officers with their respective Superintendent of Police, the Court stated,

"We are of the view that further course of action in the facts of the case with respect to the missing child Alka Subedi must be submitted by the investigating team on an affidavit."

Also, the Court directed the State/DGP to come out with the SOP within two weeks.

Further, on 19th April, the Court observed that the manner in which the investigation had been done was not as per the procedure and looking to the situation in each individual FIRs and further clues which were available to the Investigating Officers.

Even the Additional Advocate General stated before the Court that there were some lapses in the investigation.

Further, leaving it open on the State Authorities to look into each and every investigation and its lacunas, the Court said,

"Such investigation ought to be assigned to the specialized persons having acquaintance to the investigation in the case of missing Children, if trained, specially by the Government."

Importantly, the Court asked that it be apprised as to the course of action was to be taken by the high ranking Officers against the inaction of the Investigating Officers previously appointed, who did not discharge their duties.

Regarding the missing case of the Girl, the Court directed that appropriate recourse be taken by the Investigating Officers under the supervision of the Officer, within a period of six weeks and the progress report be submitted within the aforesaid time for the perusal of the Court and to take further recourse.

Case title - IN RE MISSING CHILDREN [WP (PIL) No. 01/2017]

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