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Child-lifting case: Delhi Govt wants to pass buck, Delhi HC ties it down with strict deadline

Child-lifting case: Delhi Govt wants to pass buck, Delhi HC ties it down with strict deadline
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A horrible truth has come to light while the Delhi High Court was dealing with the case of missing children of a rag picker, who has filed a habeas corpus plea seeking directions to the police to trace his two daughters who went missing from Aman Vihar, a North-West Delhi locality in April 2017.

While the court had had directed authorities to take immediate steps to restore defects from the locality and provide amenities in the area, including CCTV cameras and street lights, from what the counsel for Delhi told the court on Wednesday (January 17) it was evident that the government had not taken this seriously at all and was more interested in passing the buck.

The bench of Justices Vipin Sanghi and P S Teji was astonished at this. In its order the bench said: “The status report handed over by Rahul Mehra (counsel for the government of Delhi) states that the proposal for street lights, CCTV etc fall in the jurisdiction of Aman Vihar. “We are surprised at the stand taken by GNCTD… we refer to the earlier status report. The said report discloses that there are 54 unauthorized colonies in Aman Vihar.”

The bench also ordered:

“1- Electrification of street is essential in the area.

“2- Criminal and anti social elements are active in the area. In the absence of proper lighting they remain active in crimes such as kidnapping and abduction of minors.

“Due to the present circumstances we direct the Chief Secretary to personally call a meeting of the concerned department DSIIDC, MCD, Delhi police authority or any other agency to ensure that the issue be resolved.

“Meeting shall be called within the next 10 days.

“Status report shall be filed by the Chief Secretary within two weeks.

The matter is adjourned to January 31.

The case has a solid base in the way things are in the area.

In view of the submission by the police, the court had earlier directed that since the Aman Vihar area was “statistically shown to be highly vulnerable to children going missing”. The court had said that cameras be set up there “on priority” as a test case, as minor children were often “enslaved and forced into begging and flesh trade”.

This court directive came on the last date of hearing (December 20, 2017). The court had  directed the concerned authorities to take concrete steps in respect of:

“Self-defence camps may be held to impart training to children/women.

“Proper education to girls on this issue may be given.

“A mechanism to sensitize parents/society on the issue of missing girls/children may also be devised

“‘Nasha Mukti Kendra’ may be opened/ operated in the area

“Liquor shops may be closed in the area to restrict availability of liquor for making the parents more responsible and caring towards their children/dependents.

“Opening a number of branches of Microfinance institutions in this area may get some families rid of poverty/indulgence in crime.

“A separate study by research groups may be carried out to investigate the reasons which force the people of this are to indulge into criminal activities. A focused approach may be formulated/ adopted based on top three reasons.”

The court had directed the authorities to install CCTV cameras in the area, to install toilets, to put street lights etc.

On Wednesday the counsel for the government went on a tangent. He talked about delay in making the payment.

He said: “Unfortunately, despite the order of this court we are only in the files. We are filing status report in which the said proposal has been examined by DSIIDC. Regarding the status of putting street lights it is under the jurisdiction of Police Station Aman Vihar.

“According to the concerned authorities as per the directions given by this court they said there is no requirement for mobile toilets. The survey was conducted and amount was finalised. We know how many (light) poles we have to put there. But they said it’s not under their jurisdiction.”

At this the respondent counsel for DSIIDC said: “That is under the jurisdiction of MCD.”

The bench told the counsel for the government: “You are state and all these come under the state. You tell us what could be your jurisdiction. Tell us what you are doing?”

At this the counsel suggested that the Secretary or Chief Secretary should be brought into this. 

—India Legal Bureau

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