Punjab and Haryana High Court issued notice on a Public interest Litigation filed by Lawyers For Human Rights International for directing the State of Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh to formulate special cells to investigate the crime of missing people. as per the petition 781 girls are missing in Punjab.
IN THE HIGH COURT OF PUNJAB AND HARYANA AT CHANDIGARH
Civil Writ Petition No.______/2011
(Public Interest Litigation)
Lawyers of Human Rights International (Regd), through Tejinder Singh Sudan Advocate, President Chandigarh Unit, r/o H.No. 1727, Phase -5, S.A.S.Nagar, Mohali.
1. State of Punjab through Home Secretary, Punjab Civil Secretariat, Chandigarh.
2. Director General of Police Punjab,
Police Headquarters Sector 9, Chandigarh.
3. State of Haryana through Home Secretary,
Haryana Civil Secretariat, Chandigarh.
4. Director General of Police Haryana,
Police Headquarters Sector-6 Panchkula.
5. Union Territory of Chandigarh, through Home
Secretary, Sector-9, Chandigarh.
6. Inspector General of Police, Chandigarh, Sector-9, Chandigarh
Civil Writ Petition under Articles 226/227 of the Constitution of India praying for issuance of writ of Mandamus in Public Interest directing the respondents to formulate special cells at State/District and Tehsil levels, in which specially trained police officials should be posted who will deal only with the offences relating to missing people.
. . .
1. That the petitioner-Society, in the interest of public at large, is approaching this Hon’ble Court by way of the present Public Interest Litigation petition, for seeking the proper investigation in the cases of missing persons especially females and children, who due to their age and gender are more vulnerable to such crimes and for setting up of separate investigation cells for search of the missing person, involving the officers having special knowledge and expertise in such matters.
2. That the petitioner is a Society registered under the Societies Registration Act and comprises of Lawyers, who have their commitment to social causes and issues relating to public at large and is so entitled to invoke the extraordinary jurisdiction of this Hon’ble High Court.
3. That a news item appeared on 24.02.2011 in the news paper “The Tribune” under the heading “781 Punjab girls go missing in 10 years”. The news item was based upon the information provided under RTI, by the Crime wing of Punjab police to a resident of Patiala. The report also revealed the district wise detail of the girls missing in every district. Copy of the news item is attached herewith as Annexure P-1
4. That it was further revealed in the news item that in most of the cases, even no FIR was registered and only DDRs were recorded. However the possibility can not be denied that there may be cases where even DDRs might not have been recorded. Thus actual numbers might be much more than the figure depicted in the record.
5. That the states of affairs in the neighbouring State of Haryana and Union Territory of Chandigarh are not any better as the past record has shown the lax attitude of the authorities in dealing with such matters. The persons so missing might have been kidnapped for ransom. Possibility of pushing the Females forcibly into flesh trade can not be ruled out.
6. That there are many incidents where the persons so missing could have been recovered but for the inaction or improper action of the authorities. For example in 2008 a child namely Tejas Gaba was kidnapped on 12th December, 2008 at 7:38 am from Pruthi chowk, Model town, Panipat, Haryana while waiting for the School bus. However the Haryana police failed to trace the whereabouts of the child, despite having the various clues such as picture and voice samples of the accused persons. Ultimately the matter was transferred to CBI and the Haryana police washed its hands of the case by handing over the case file to the CBI. The parents of the Child Tejas are still awaiting justice and the whereabouts of the child are unknown till date.
7. That similarly even in the Union Territory of Chandigarh 5 year old Child Khushpreet Singh was kidnapped from near his house at Burail, Sector 45, on December 21 and later on his body was found on January 5 at Mohali. Even in that case the fingers were pointed on the working of the police, in an unprofessional manner.
8. That generally whenever any missing case is reported, the police is reluctant to take any immediate steps and rather direct the family to search on their own. If the Person so missing is a female, remarks would be passed regarding her character. No efforts are made to know about their whereabouts. Even the DDRs are recorded only 2-3 days thereafter and even if FIRs are recorded the police officials being busy in routine investigation and law and order duty are not able to concentrate on such crimes of missing people, which needs immediate action in a professional manner.
9. That as mentioned above the females, due to their gender are more vulnerable to such crimes. The possibility of the females being abducted for flesh trade or sexual exploitation can not be ruled out. The authorities can not sit idle only for the reason that there is possibility the girl might have eloped with someone. The police is bound to investigate and verify the same.
10. That in the matters of kidnapping and abduction, the initial time is quite crucial as any prompt action can save the life of the victim. However these matters involve special skills and expertise. Even in the foreign countries these matters are dealt by specialized officers well acquainted with the modern equipment and techniques, whereas in India these matters are still investigated by the already overburdened police officials using their old and outdated techniques.
11. That with the change in the social and economic structure of the society, these type of offences have increased and still are bound to increase further. The persons are being kidnapped/abducted not only for ransom but for flesh trade and sexual exploitation. Unless any timely action is taken, it will spread chaos in the society.
12. That the respondents have already set up specialized cells to deal with economic crimes and cyber crime, where the officials are well acquainted with the techniques of modern investigation. On the similar pattern specialized cell can be formed to investigate the missing persons. Similarly the respondent states can form a co-ordination center, where they can share the information and coordinate in such actions.
13. That the following substantive questions of law arise from the present writ petition for kind consideration of this Hon’ble Court are as under:-
i) Whether the respondents are justified in ignoring the plight of the families, who are searching for their missing family members ?
ii) Whether the respondents require specially trained police officials to deal with the crime of missing persons?
iii) As to whether the issue in question involves Public Interest and violation of fundamental right as enshrined under article 21 of Constitution of India.
14. That there is no other remedy either by appeal or revision available with the petitioner except to approach this Hon’ble Court by way of filing the present writ petition.
15. That no such or similar petition has earlier been filed by the petitioner in this Hon’ble Court or in the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India.
16. That the documents attached with the writ petition are true copies of the originals as required under Rule 22 of the Writ Jurisdiction Rules.
In the light of the above given circumstances of the case, it is, therefore, respectfully prayed that this Hon’ble Court may be pleased to issue:-
i) a writ in Public interest directing the respondents to formulate special cells at State/District and Tehsil levels, in which specially trained police officials should be posted who will deal only with the offences relating to missing people.
ii) with a further prayer that any other appropriate writ, order or direction as this Hon’ble Court may deem fit and proper in the facts and circumstances of the case, may also be passed in the interest of justice.
iii) advance notice of the writ petition to the respondents may kindly be dispensed with;
iv) filing of the certified/typed copy of the Annexure P-1 may also be dispensed with,
v) the writ petition may be accepted as prayed for;
T H R O U G H
(NAVKIRAN SINGH) (RUBINA N.SINGH)
(H.P.S. ISHAR) (GURSIMRAN SINGH) (HARPREET KAUR)
P/1718/2005 P/1509/2009 P/769/2008
CHANDIGARH: A D V O C A T E S
DATED: 03.03.2011 COUNSEL FOR THE PETITIONER