In an important judgment, the Punjab and Haryana high court has made it mandatory for the police in Punjab, Haryana and UT Chandigarh to immediately register an FIR on any complaint about a missing child.
Till now, the police were recording a daily diary report (DDR), and that too in very few cases, when a boy or girl went missing. Thus, many missing children were not traced even after a long time.
The division bench comprising acting chief justice Jasbir Singh and justice Rakesh Kumar Jain also ordered that the officers of the rank of inspector generals in Punjab and Haryana and of the rank of superintendent of police in Chandigarh would be appointed nodal officers. These officers would be responsible for coordination with various agencies, such as the CBI anti-trafficking unit and even with other states for monitoring such cases.
As per reports submitted to the high court by the authorities concerned, 1,517 children were untraced out of the total of 3,237 missing children between 2009 and 2011 in Haryana, 544 out of 599 in Punjab, and 131 out of 286 in Chandigarh.
Among the untraced children, there were 618 girls in Haryana, 181 in Punjab and 64 in Chandigarh.
The high court directives came while disposing of a bunch of a PILs filed by World Human Rights Protection Council and other NGOs. The NGOs had sought directives for formulating special cells at the state/district level in which specially trained police officers should be posted for only dealing with cases of missing persons.