The Supreme Court today came down heavily on state governments for their lack of action in cases of missing children. The Court reportedly said, "If the missing child is of an aristocratic person or when it comes to people with money, thousands of policemen are there and you trace the child in three days. But if the child of a poor man goes missing, police don't even register FIR,".
The three-judge bench of Justice Dattu, Justice S A Bobde and Justice A M Sapre was looking into the compliance of its earlier orders regarding mandatory registration of FIR in cases of missing children. However, the Court found that the number of FIRs in some states were not in accordance with numbers of missing children.
Expressing its unhappiness on the affidavits filed by Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh and Gujarat, the Court listed the next date of hearing as October 16, after State of Haryana submitted that the last date for filing the compliance was not yet over.
The petition regarding the issue of missing children was been filed by the NGO, Bachpan Bachao Aandolan. Senior Advocate HS Phoolka, appearing for the NGO reportedly stated that since the states have not maintained any record relating to the number of missing children, the data on the issue has been taken from the records of Rajya Sabha and National Crime Record Bureau.
The Supreme Court also noted that its guidelines regarding each police station with at least one police Officer trained and designated as a Juvenile Welfare Officer to probe crimes against children were not being complied with. The Court also noted the states’failure to appoint para-legal volunteer in shifts, in the police station to oversee the manner in which the complaints regarding missing children and other offences against children are investigated.
The petition filed by the NGO states that more than 1.7 lakh children in the country have gone missing between 2008-10. It also states that many of such incidents are related to trafficking for flesh trade and labour.
The Apex Court had also passed certain directions regarding the same, but todays proceedings also highlighted the sorry state of affairs existing in the country, as expressed by the Court.