An NGO on Friday moved the Supreme Court for initiating contempt proceeding against the Delhi Police Commissioner saying the delay in lodging an FIR in the missing of the five-year-old rape victim amounts to "deliberately defying" its order to promptly lodge case of missing children".
The PIL was mentioned before a bench headed by Chief Justice Altamas Kabir and will be heard on Monday.
Bachpan Bachao Andolan sought initiation of contempt proceedings against Delhi Police chief Neeraj Kumar, Deputy Commissioner of Police of East Delhi Prabhakar and other officials of Gandhi Nagar Police Station alleging they have "deliberately violated the law and January 17 order of the apex court".
The petition alleged that the "inaction of police shows their total non-seriousness about the issue" and such "laxity and slow response is deliberate" on the agency's part.
The apex court had on January 17 directed that the police must register FIR and conduct probe in every case of missing child and a unit of specially trained police officers be formed in each district to handle cases relating to juveniles.
The court had also said appropriate steps must be taken to see that follow up investigation is taken up immediately after the FIR is lodged.
The petition, filed by advocates H S Phoolka and Jagjit Singh Chhabra, said had the Delhi Police been "vigilant and acted with promptness", the gruesome incident of rape of the child in Gandhi Nagar area here could have been averted.
The petitioner also sought the court's intervention for an appropriate direction to the police to formulate a national plan to "tackle the menace of missing children and also to define the term missing children, which has not been defined so far in any statute".
Giving the statistics, the petition said in Gandhi Nagar area, since January 1 to April 20, 77 children have gone missing and remained untraced.
"Out of these 77 children, 51 are girls. In Delhi, 628 children have gone missing in the same time period. Thus, despite such an upsurge of crime of kidnapping, the police continue to be unresponsive towards protecting the children," it said.
It said that the five-year-old girl had gone missing on April 15 and her parents had reported the matter to the police on the same day but the investigating agency, "functioning in a lackadaisical way", did not register any FIR for several hours and the parents had to run from pillar to post before a complaint was even received.
"When the FIR was eventually registered, the police did not initiate any action for recovery of the missing child...
"Even if a small inquiry had been made at the place of the occurrence of the crime, from and about the neighbours, the child could have been recovered and the tragedy would have been averted as she was in the same building in a locked room," the petition said.
"By way of not investigating the case as well as trying to hush up the matter, the policemen on duty including the investigating officer of the case, as well as the policeman who offered money to parents, as well as the senior officers who must be aware of such action by their juniors of trying to offer money to parents, have also committed various offences, including under section 166A (public servant disobeying law) of IPC, introduced by way of Criminal Law Amendment Act, 2013," it said.
It said earlier the Delhi government, in an affidavit filed in the apex court, had said that "Delhi Police accords upper most priority to cases of children reported missing i.e.
children of the age of 18 years and below, and handled with necessary attention and seriousness.
"Still, the parents of the missing children are running from pillar to post for the prompt action and Delhi Police is not complying with the directions issued on January 17, 2013, by this court."
The apex court's January 17 order was passed on a PIL filed by Bachpan Bachao Andolan alleging that over 1.7 lakh children have gone missing in the country between January 2008-2010, many of whom were kidnapped for trafficking in flesh trade and child labour.
The court had on March 16 last year issued notice to the Centre, states and union territories directing them to file their responses on the issue of missing children.