‘Set up juvenile unit in each police station’

The Supreme Court on Thursday directed the police for immediate registration of FIR on receiving complaints about missing children and setting up of a special unit in each police station to deal with juveniles in conflict with the law.

A Bench led by Chief Justice Altamas Kabir said that in every case of a missing child complaint, the investigation must be started instantly and that a unit of specially-trained police officers be formed in each district to handle cases relating to juveniles. It said that such officers would work in coordination with Child Welfare Committees as mandated under provisions of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act.

The court also directed for personal appearance of chief secretaries of six states — Andhra Pradesh, Goa, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Orissa and Tamil Nadu — on February 5 for failing to file their response to the PIL by NGO 'Bachpan Bachao Andolan'. It has directed for the personal appearance of a senior officer from Karnataka for a similar lapse. The NGO had submitted that the six states had not responded to the notice issued by the SC in the matter and that even though the FIR is not filed in case of missing children in the first instance, the number of children who remained untraceable as per police records had risen.

The SC also sought direction to treat kidnapping or trafficking of children as non-bailable and cognizable offence.

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