New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Friday asked the central government if has revised its model standard operating procedure (SOP), meant to trace missing children, in view of the change in the Juvenile Justice Act.
A division bench of Justice Sanjiv Khanna and Justice Sunita Gupta took note of the new sections in the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015, which was notified in January 2016, that has made it mandatory to report to authorities if a child is found separated from their guardian.
Hearing a petition dealing with missing children who are yet to be traced, the bench said: “Now new JJ Act of 2015 is in force since past six months. Have you revised this SOP in view of the New JJ Act?”
As per the Section 32 of the JJ Act, any individual or a police officer or a nursing home or hospital or maternity home that finds a child who appears or claims to be abandoned or lost, has to report to the Childline Services or the nearest police station or to a Child Welfare Committee within 24 hours and failure to report may land the person or the officer concerned with upto six months of jail.
The SoP is meant to trace out missing children and also to give training to police officers and sensitize them on handle the cases of missing children as well as to prevent trafficking, child labour, abduction and exploitation.
On the last hearing, the high court had expressed strong displeasure on increasing number of missing childrenm terming it akin to terrorism even as Delhi Police said out of 2,252 missing children in 2016, it has traced a total of 1,293.
The report submitted by Delhi Police had said that in 2011, a total of 5,111 went missing, of which 4,602 were traced and 509 are yet to be traced.
In 2015, 7,982 children went missing, 5,961 were restored and 1967 are yet to be traced. Till May 30, 2016, 2,252 children went missing, 1,293 were traced and 963 are yet to be restored, said the report.