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Minor Girl Kidnapped From Gorakhpur: Supreme Court Directs UP & NCT Delhi To Submit Action Taken Report On Centre's SOP For Cases Of Missing Children

Srishti Ojha
21 Sep 2021 4:39 PM GMT
Minor Girl Kidnapped From Gorakhpur: Supreme Court Directs UP & NCT Delhi To Submit Action Taken Report On Centres SOP For Cases Of Missing Children
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While hearing a case pertaining to the kidnapping of a 13-year-old girl from Gorakhpur found by Delhi Police after having been untraceable for two months, the Supreme Court on Tuesday directed the State of UP and NCT of Delhi to submit their response with regard to action taken report with reference to Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) published by Ministry of Women and...

While hearing a case pertaining to the kidnapping of a 13-year-old girl from Gorakhpur found by Delhi Police after having been untraceable for two months, the Supreme Court on Tuesday directed the State of UP and NCT of Delhi to submit their response with regard to action taken report with reference to Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) published by Ministry of Women and Child Development, Union of India dated 23rd November 2016 for cases of missing children.

A Bench comprising Justice AM Khanwilkar, Justice Dinesh Maheshwari and Justice CT Ravikumar issued the direction in a habeas corpus petition filed by the minor girl's mother, seeking steps to trace her.

The Bench has asked the response regarding action taken report and compliances of requisite mandatory steps to be placed on record by the two States, who are respondents in the present case, depending on which, the Court may consider orders passing further directions as may be necessary

The Court has also directed impleadment of Union of India through Secretary, Women and Child Development as party respondent since presence of the said authority may be appropriate in issuing further directions as may be necessary.

The Bench further directed that the response to be filed by the State of UP and NCT of Delhi should be by an officer not below the rank of Joint Secretary within three weeks from today.

The directions were issued in consideration of suggestions made by the Amicus Curiae Senior Advocate KV Vishwanathan in the present matter appointed by the court to represent the interests of the minor girl.

The Bench stated that the suggestions of the Amicus can be considered as future guidelines to concerned States and can be of general nature which can be followed by other States and Union Territories as well.

The Amicus had submitted before the Court that the Court may require both UP and Delhi government to submit information about compliances with directions of this court in Bachpan Bachao Andolan case, the provision of Juvenile Justice Act and POCSO Act, and the SOP issued by the Government.

"They should tell your Lordships whether Rule 93 documentation has been complied with when FIR was registered, notices were issued, interaction happened, updating on portal happened. If they can tell the court if the systems are in place it will help in making an order. Not for penal consequence, that's upto the court. But to ensure that in future this doesn't happen", the Amicus said.

The Bench perused the report regarding age determination of the girl received from AIIMS which indicated that the girl in question is still a minor. The Bench was also informed by ASG Rupinder Singh Suri, appearing for the Delhi Police that the pregnancy test of the girl has come out negative.

Advocate Amit Pai appearing for the petitioner and the girl's mother requested the court that the girl should continue staying in the home where she's residing presently

The Bench observed that the girl may continue to stay in the Global Family Charitable Trust, Delhi where she is presently staying, until further orders from the Court.

Further, the Court noted that during her stay, counselling by experts is being provided to her which may continue and the report of the counsellors be made available to the court on next date of hearing.

Supreme Court had earlier directed the concerned authorities at AIIMS Delhi to ensure that the age determination report of the girl is given before next date of hearing on 17th September. The direction was issued after being informed that AIIMS Delhi had referred the minor victim to the forensic department for age determination.

In the present case, after the girl remained untraced for two months, Supreme Court had on 1st September asked the Uttar Pradesh Police to hand over the investigation records to the Delhi police and had directed the Delhi Police Commissioner to oversee the investigation. Within 2 days, the girl was traced by Delhi Police in Calcutta and the abductor was arrested.

This was followed by the Supreme Court directing the transfer of investigation in the present case on 7th September from the Uttar Pradesh police to the Delhi police on an immediate basis.

The Bench had also directed that all steps must be taken by the Delhi police to ensure that the minor girl is protected from being exposed to any untoward circumstances. The police officer in charge of the Gorakhpur police station was also instructed to hand over all the relevant records of the case to the Delhi police.

According to the present petitioner who is working as a domestic maid in Delhi, the suspect had been trying to lure and seduce her minor daughter for long. With respect to that, she had lodged a complaint before the Malviya Nagar Police station in Delhi. Further in July, while the petitioner was with her husband's family at Gorakhpur along with her daughters, the eldest daughter went missing.

According to the petition, the younger daughter had overheard certain phone conversations between the suspect and her sister, where the former was threatening her with dire consequences if she did not come to his flat in Delhi. Soon after this conversation, the girl went missing.

The petitioner alleged that though a complaint was soon made before the Gorakhpur police, they did not take any prompt steps. In this backdrop, the habeas corpus petition was filed in the Supreme Court, voicing the apprehension that the girl might be sexually abused or be trafficked into sex trade.

The Bench had expressed unhappiness with the failure of the UP Police in tracing the girl. In response, the counsel for the State of Uttar Pradesh, Advocate Anuvrat Sharma, told the bench that the state police were taking diligent steps and the investigation's pace was affected due to the inter-state ramifications.

The girl was suspected to be in West Bengal back then and the police had collected the Call Detail Records (CDR) as per the counsel.

The Bench had then decided to hand over the investigation either to the CBI or to the Delhi Police.

The Bench had also passed a direction to the Gorakhpur police to share the entire investigation records to Malviyanagar Police(Delhi) by the next day. It also directed the Delhi police commissioner to ensure further investigation to trace out the missing girl.

Case Title: Neelam Kanojia vs State of Uttar Pradesh & Ors

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