SC seeks prompt police action on missing kids

New Delhi, Jan 17 (IANS) Seeking prompt action in cases of missing children, the Supreme Court Thursday asked chief secretaries of all states to direct police stations to immediately register cases and start probes on getting such complaints.

An apex court bench of Chief Justice Altamas Kabir, Justice J. Chelameswar and Justice Vikramajit Sen said the states and union territories would ensure that every police station would have a special juvenile police officer to deal with cases of missing children.

The court order came during a hearing on a petition by NGO Bachpan Bachao Andolan seeking a national action plan for rescuing missing children.

The judges took a serious view on Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Odisha, Himachal Pradesh, Goa and Arunachal Pradesh not issuing instructions to their advocates in the case.

The chief secretaries of these states should be present in court during the next date of hearing Feb 5, the court said.

The court's direction on the posting of special juvenile police officer in every police station came when senior counsel H.S. Phoolka, appearing for the NGO, said that normally the designated police officers were burdened with other responsibilities.

Phoolka told the court that there were instances where a special juvenile police officer was unaware of his designated role to deal with juvenile cases.

He said when a child went missing, police told his or her guardians to wait for some time, claiming that the child would come back.

Of all the children who go missing every day, about 100 remain untraced, the senior counsel said citing a report of the National Crime Records Bureau.

The petition said that in 2008-10 there were 117,480 children reported missing out of whom 74,209 were traced.

The NGO sought a direction to the government to make penal provisions dealing with kidnapping or trafficking of children more stringent.

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