Expressing serious concern over the rising number of cases of children going missing in the Capital, Delhi high court on Wednesday asked the Delhi Police commissioner to constitute a task force to probe whether a gang is involved in trafficking children.
A bench of chief justice Dipak Misra and justice Sanjiv Khanna has also asked school authorities not to strike off names of missing students without approval of the Department of Education.
The court said deputy commissioners of police of the areas concerned will have to personally oversee investigation if a child aged between 3 and 8 is reported missing since the last six months and trafficking was suspected.
The bench was hearing a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) after taking suo motu cognisance of media reports on children who go missing every year in Delhi and lack of proper
investigation by the police in tracing them.
“If a missing child is not rescued or found for a period of six months, the case should be handed over to the anti-kidnapping cell for effective investigation,” the court said.
Denying the probe was slack, Delhi police standing counsel Pawan Sharma admitted that 682 children were still missing but the police were doing everything to trace them.
Delhi Legal Services Authority submitted a report stating that children in the age group of 2 to 4 years were being abducted from the city for trafficking.
“Gangs are around the capital city for (getting) child labour, trafficking and police were not carrying out proper investigation,” (sic.) the court said.
The bench said a mechanism is needed to transfer the probe in such cases to the anti kidnapping cell if the police fail to recover the missing children.
The bench directed the secretary of the education department, Delhi government, to issue a circular to all schools against the practice of striking off names of missing children.