HC asks centre to consider facial recognition system for missing children

New Delhi, Sep 10 (IANS) Stressing on need of a system by which information and details of missing child can be matched with children who are found and recovered, the Delhi High Court has asked the central government to consider developing a ‘facial recognition’ system for this purpose.

A division bench of Justice Sanjiv Khanna and Justice Sunita Gupta said details of missing children who are found and housed in different institutions can be matched from such a facial recognition system.

“We have noted the facts to highlight the need and requirement to have a system by which the information and details of missing child can be matched with the children who are found and recovered. Counsel appearing for the Union of India will obtain instructions on the development of the said software,” said the court.

The court was hearing a public interest case to curb the menace of missing of minor children in capital.

The Delhi Police told the court that police as well as institutions are uploading photographs of children who have gone missing or have been found, but there is difficulty in matching the missing children with the children recovered and housed in different institutions.

Earlier, Delhi Police had submitted before the court that a whopping 7,928 children went missing in Delhi in 2015, an increase of almost 1,500 from the preceding year.

The court also asked the central government if has revised its model standard operating procedure (SOP), meant to trace missing children, in view of the change in the Juvenile Justice Act.

The bench took note of new sections in the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015, notified in January 2016, that has made it mandatory to report to authorities if a child is found separated from their guardian.

As per the act’s Section 32, any individual or a police officer or a nursing home or hospital or maternity home that finds a child who appears or claims to be abandoned or lost, has to report to the Childline Services or the nearest police station or to a Child Welfare Committee within 24 hours with failure to do so may land the person or the officer concerned with upto six months of jail.

The SoP is meant to trace out missing children and also to train and sensitise police officers to handle the cases of missing children as well as to prevent trafficking, child labour, abduction and exploitation.

–IANS

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