To ensure safety of minors, the state has decided to treat all incidents of missing children under the age of 14 as kidnapping cases.
In a significant move, the home department has sent out circulars to all city police stations asking them to follow the new rule.
The decision was taken to ensure that the cases of missing children were taken more seriously.
“This move comes after an order given by the Supreme Court, which has asked us to treat these cases more seriously. Now, the childrens’ names won’t end up in the list of missing persons, and the case will be pursued as a kidnapping one,” said RR Patil, home minister, on Friday.
The home department had already issued a circular on this development in April, but it had not been implemented yet.
According to the current system, when parents of a child lodges a missing complaint, it is first put in a register consisting details of missing people.
Depending on the circumstances, the police decide what type of case is to be lodged. In a majority of cases, the children end up in the missing register.
Maharashtra had been rated as the state with the highest number of missing children cases.
Around 1.77 lakh children were reported missing in India between 2009 and 2011. Of them, the Supreme Court pointed out, majority were from Maharashtra, Delhi and Madhya Pradesh.