The process to identify a service provider to work with the National Informatics Centre (NIC) to develop “facial recognition software” to track missing children is under way, government has told Delhi High Court. The information was given to a bench of justices Sanjiv Khanna and Sunita Gupta which had asked the authorities to develop a system by which information and details of missing children can be matched with those found and recovered. It had asked the Centre to consider developing a “facial recognition” system to curb the menace of minor children going missing in the national capital.
The bench had said the details of missing children who are found and housed in different institutions can be matched from such a system.
The court had given the suggestions after the Delhi Police had informed it they were uploading photographs of children who have gone missing, but it was difficult to match them with housed in various institutions.
The court was hearing a couple of petitions dealing with two missing minor children, one of whom is yet to be traced.
The Centre also told the court that its model Standard Operating Procedure (SOP), meant to trace missing children, has been revised in view of the latest changes in the Juvenile Justice (JJ) (Care and Protection of Children) Act 2015.
The SoP is meant to trace missing children and train and sensitise police officers to handle such cases as well as prevent trafficking, child labour, abduction and exploitation.
The bench in July this year had asked the Centre to revise its SOP, in view of the change in the JJ Act. It took note of the new sections in the Act which was notified in January, making it mandatory for reporting to authorities if a child is found separated from his or her guardian.
As per section 32 of the Act, any individual or police officer or 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 a Child Welfare Committee within 24 hours. Failure to do so may land the person or the officer concerned with up to six months of jail.
The bench had earlier expressed displeasure on increasing number of missing children her, saying it was akin to terrorism.