Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Centre not serious about child rights, SC says

Expressing deep concern over the failure of government to put in place a proper mechanism to trace missing children, the Supreme Court on Tuesday sought assistance of premier institutes FMS of Delhi University and Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbaito find thousands of children who go missing every year.

The court also asked National Police Academy (NPA), Hyderabad to evolve a training module for police officers who handle such cases to sensitize them towards child rights.

A bench of Justices Madan B Lokur and U U Lalit slammed the Centre for not appointing chairperson and other members to the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) saying that government is not bothered about child rights. The court directed it to take a decision for appointments to the commission which is a statutory body.

"No chairman has been appointed for the commission. I checked the website and not a single person has been appointed in the commission. It is a statutory body and you cannot say that you don't appoint anybody in the commission," the bench said.

"The government is doing nothing, leaving this court handicapped to proceed further in the case," it said.

It directed secretary, ministry of women & child development, to coordinate with his state counterparts in evolving a mechanism for tracking missing children. The secretary is to function as a nodal officer who will coordinate with all the states and direct them to track missing children.

The court asked the government to file an affidavit on appointment in NCPCR by February 12 when the matter would be taken up for further hearing.

It asked the director of DU's Faculty of Mangement Studies, to appoint a competent faculty to study government website www.trackthemissingchild.gov.in and suggest ways by which it can be made effective in tracking missing children.

The court asked TISS director to set up a group which will study standard operating procedure (SOP) followed by different states and also the procedure suggested by NALSA. The court asked the institute to frame comprehensive guidelines which will be uniformly followed by all states.

It said that officials including police personnel need to be given proper training to prevent cases of missing children and to trace and rehabilitate them. The court said that the issue of child trafficking is linked with missing children and that aspect has to be considered by the government.

"We request director, NPA, to consult police authorities across the country and come out with module training that should be given to officials handling such cases," it said.

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