Realise value of kids, use technology to trace missing minors, HC tells Maharashtra cops
The Bombay high court was hearing a petition filed by a woman whose daughter went missing five years agomumbai Updated: Dec 07, 2017 00:56 IST
The Bombay high court has urged the Maharashtra police “to realise the value of children to their families and to the nation as a whole” and try to trace missing minors using technology, saying, “we cannot give them back their childhood, but we can at least ensure that thereafter they live, and do not just survive.”
“We do not think that the value of the children to a family or the nation as a whole and particularly the gravity of the situation of one lost child, has still been realised,” said the division bench of justice SC Dharmadhikari and justice Bharati Dangre, expressing anxiety about the apathetic approach of the police in tracing missing minor children.
The court has therefore suggested that the police force must make use of technology, including social media, and try to share lists and photographs of missing children at railway platforms, airports and busy locations where CCTVs are installed. The bench expressed hope that if such a step is taken, “somebody will be moved by the plight of the children and may inform authorities about them,” enabling the police to trace the missing minors.
The bench was hearing a petition filed by a woman complaining that police had failed to find her daughter, who went missing five years ago. The girl was eight years old at the time.
The bench said such missing children may be alive, but the question was at whose mercy, in what condition, and involved in what trade or occupation?
“We have noticed that in public gardens and areas frequented by families, people are happy to take a horse or cart ride even if they are ferried by another minor child,” it said, adding, “None has bothered to complain as to how the children are employed, by whom, who provides them money and who takes care of their food, medicines etc. and where do they sleep or reside.”
The bench observed that this meant that there was a systematic activity, in which somebody was exploiting minors day in and day out. They are being employed illegally at parking lots or by hawkers, and one can notice that at late night many children suddenly come out from buildings, the judges said.
“At the same time, we see police patrolling jeeps taking a routine round, but not bothering to apprehend them,” the bench said, adding, “This is indeed a shocking situation, but no one wants to remedy it.”