Chennai: Expressing anguish over the state government’s failure to address the problems of child trafficking/missing effectively, the Madras high court has directed the DGP and the home department to file a report with regard to the number of cases registered by police, including the anti-child trafficking units in connection with missing children and exploitation of children.
The Division Bench comprising Justice M, Sathyanarayanan and Justice N. Seshasayee, before which the matter relating to an habeas corpus petition filed by Exnora highlighting the missing of two children who were sleeping on Chennai platforms with their parents, came up for hearing, said, “Despite the fact that Tamil Nadu is also a party to the decisions of the Supreme Court in the above cases, in prima facie it appears that no proper and effective steps have been taken to address the problem of child missing/trafficking and exploitation cases.
It is high time that the concerned departments bestow their best attention and show some sensitivity to the problems, especially by taking into consideration the anxiety of the parents/ guardians, whose children are missing and untraceable for quite a long time. We are also of the view that disbursal of the fund created under the head ‘Juvenile Justice Fund’ is also very much on the lower side, and the disbursal mechanism also is not functioning properly.”
On July 16, the court passed an interim order directing the home and police departments to file status report as full compliance of Juvenile Justice Act particularly Chapter IX with supporting documents and materials and the action taken report pertaining to creation of 43 anti child trafficking units (ACTU) in Tamil Nadu.
When the matter came up for hearing, public prosecutor Emilias filed two separate status reports by the deputy secretary, home department and assistant inspector general of police, law and order.
The deputy secretary, home department, in counter submitted that a GO was issued on March 2, 2017 for formation of 43 ACTU’s, each headed by an Inspector assisted by an SI, a head constable and two grade-I police constables. Funds were also sanctioned, and 43 inspectors have also assumed charge. A corpus fund of `25 lakh was allotted for the welfare and rehabilitation of children dealt as per provisions of Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act 2015, it added.
As per order of the High Court dated August 12, 2016 the authorities distributed Rs 73 lakh to the parents of 39 untraced children, and distributed a compensation of Rs 10,000 to each victim of sexual abuse to meet their immediate medical needs.
During 2017, about 87 per cent of missing boys and girls were traced and nearly 75 per cent of the reported cases of missing boys and girls were solved up to June 2018, and reunited them with their families. Authorities have rescued 92 child labourers in 2017 and 58 child labourers up to June 2018. As of now, Rs 33,53,659 is available under the JJ (Juvenile Justice) Fund. After perusing the report, the Bench has directed the DGP and state home department to file detailed report about the cases registered.