The Supreme Court on Thursday directed the Madhya Pradesh chief secretary to appear in court on November 20 to explain why the state government had not been able to trace the missing children as yet.
At least 23,000 children had been reported missing in Madhya Pradesh since 2011 and about 7,000 were still untraceable.
The court also asked the Madhya Pradesh government to file an affidavit on the status of the missing children in the state till date in the next hearing.
The Supreme Court had passed a slew of directions on a PIL filed by Nobel laureate Kailash Satyarthi’s Bachpan Bachao Andolan (BBA) in October. The PIL had brought to the court’s notice that over 1.7 lakh children had gone missing in the country between January 2008 and 2010 and the respective state governments had done nothing to trace them. The states in question were Bihar, Chattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh.
Studying the response from the Bihar government on Thursday, the court appreciated the efforts made by it in tracing 169 missing children within a week after the SC passed order in this connection. The bench headed by Chief Justice HL Dattu directed it to complete the task of finding out remaining 464 children within three weeks.
It, however, granted four weeks time to the Chhattisgarh government to find out all missing children in the state.
Meanwhile, the apex court bench also gave the Centre one week's time to apprise it on the standard operating procedures (SOPs), which the National Legal Service Authority (NALSA) had prepared in consultation with other stakeholders, including the home ministry, women and child welfare ministry and NGOs on missing children and the steps to trace them.
The bench noted that none of the states had filed any objections to the SOPs that were circulated to them in the wake of its July 15 order.