“In India, in the period of January 2008 to January 2010, over 1.17 lakh children have gone missing in 392 districts in India. Out of them, 41,546 are still untraced,” said senior advocate H S Phoolka appearing for NGO petitioner ‘Bachpan Bachao Andolan’.
A bench of Justices Altamas Kabir and S S Nijjar issued notices to the governments asking for their response within four weeks but appreciated the efforts of police in recovering a majority of the missing children.
The petitioner said, “The instances of missing children are highest in Maharashtra followed by West Bengal, Delhi and Madhya Pradesh. The number of untraced missing children is highest in West Bengal followed by Maharashtra, Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh.”
The petitioner sought a direction to the Union government to formulate a National Action Plan on the issue of missing children which should include investigation, recovery, counseling and a standard operating procedures (SOP) for law enforcing agencies on coordinating their efforts. It said on the efforts of Delhi High Court, the police had made operational some SOPs.