Angry court pulls up Centre, states

The Supreme Court Tuesday expressed its disappointment over the apathy of the Centre and state governments toward missing children and cautioned them against "their casualness" and "repeated flouting" of court orders.

"Nobody seems to be concerned about the missing children. This is the irony. Despite our January 17 order, the said three officials have once again thought it fit to treat the matter with extreme casualness as if the order passed by this court has no meaning," said a bench led by Chief Justice Altamas Kabir.

Angered by the failure of some states to file status reports on missing children, their rescue and rehabilitation, the bench, during its previous hearing, had summoned chief secretaries of five states and had given a last opportunity to some others to adduce their reports.

However, chief secretaries of three states, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu and Arunachal Pradesh, failed to show up.

"Why are they not present? Shall we issue non-bailable warrant? They are playing fool with the court. They cannot say they are indisposed. Don't play fools with this court. There was a direction, they had to be present here," the bench said and ordered them to be present at the next hearing.

It also noted that the union territories, which are governed by the Centre, were the biggest defaulters and that there was a lack of co-ordination among agencies.

"The left hand doesn't know what is there in the right hand. You are the biggest defaulters. You have no concern with children's issues," the court said.

It asked Additional Solicitor General A S Chandhiok to file appropriate status reports on behalf of the ministries of Women and Child Welfare, Social Welfare and Home Affairs by February 19.

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