17 Jan., 2013, New Delhi: In a major breakthrough, the Supreme Court of India has passed landmark directions for registration of First Information Reports (FIRs) in every complaint of missing children in the country.
In a writ petition filed by Bachpan Bachao Andolan (BBA), a Supreme Court bench headed by a Chief Justice of India, Justice Altamas Kabir, and of Justice Vikramjit Sen and Justice Jasti Chelameswar, has expressed serious dissatisfaction over the lukewarm response from all state governments from across the country on the issue of missing children. The Court has summoned the Chief Secretaries of Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Orissa, Himachal Pradesh, Goa and Arunachal Pradesh, to appear in person on 5th Feb. 2013, as these states have even failed to appear before the court and had not filed any status reports.
Accepting the arguments of Mr. H.S. Phoolka (Senior Adv.) and Mr. Jagjit Chhabra (Advocate on Record) appearing for the petitioner that every day hundreds of children are going missing without a trace and law enforcement agencies are not serious in their efforts to stop this crime and immediate steps for the recovery of these children must be taken, the Court directed immediate registration of FIRs. The Court has also accepted recommendations of the National Human Rights Commission to set up Special Juvenile Police Units at every police station across the country with a dedicated Child Welfare Officer/Special Juvenile Police Officer, to swiftly act in cases of all children in need of care and protection as well as in conflict with law.
According to BBA, almost 100,000 children go missing, with over 30,000 remaining untraced each year in the country (as per National Crime Records Bureau data). However, less than 10,000 cases are ever registered. Mr. R. S. Chaurasia, Chairperson BBA said, “Govt. Accepts that 7 children go missing every hour. In the absence of a clear definition of ‘missing child’ coupled up with apathy, lackadaisical approach and no respect for children especially those belonging to the poorer sections of society, these directions of the Supreme Court will be a shot in the arm for our efforts against organised crime of trafficking involving these missing children.”
“Many times the complaints from parents, especially those of adolescent girls, result in insensitive and lewd remarks from the police that the girl may have eloped with her lover, leaving the parents in lurch for tracing their children all by themselves”, he added.
Shri. R.S Chaurasia
Bachpan Bachao Andolan