New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday directed the states to file their responses within four weeks on a PIL alleging that on an average 90,000 children are missing in the country every year of which 30,000 remain untraced.
A bench of justices Altamas Kabir and J Chelameshwar passed the direction after noting that most of the states have so far not filed their despite its directions on March 16.
Counsel H S Phoolka and Bhuwan Ribhu urged the bench to issue a direction to the Centre to formulate a national plan to tackle the menace of missing children and also to define the term "missing children" which has not been done so far in any statute.
According to the NGO`s petition in India, between January 2008 to January 2010, 1,17,480 children have gone missing in 392 districts of India. Out of these, 41,546 are still untraced.
"Expanding this figure to all 640 districts in India, the number of missing children in India is almost 90,000 every year with more than 30,000 remaining untraced.
"Hence, the issue of missing children has a national magnitude which requires coordination of various central and state authorities and also of civil societies all across the country to tackle the menace of missing children," the PIL said.
According to the petition, instances of missing children are maximum in Maharashtra followed by West Bengal, Delhi and Madhya Pradesh.
"Similarly, the instances of untraced missing children are maximum in West Bengal, followed by Maharashtra, Karnataka, and Madhya Pradesh," it said.