Process to develop facial recognition system for missing children on, HC told

New Delhi, Oct 28 (IANS) The Union government has informed the Delhi High Court that it was in the process of identifying a service provider that will work with the National Informatics Centre (NIC) to develop a “facial recognition software” to track missing children.

The submission before a division bench of Justice Sanjiv Khanna and Justice Sunita Gupta came while it was hearing a public interest case to curb the menace of missing of minor children in capital.

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 court had earlier asked the central government to consider developing a facial recognition system for this purpose.

It had said details of missing children who are found and housed in different institutions can be matched from such a system.

The Delhi Police had 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 di fferent 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 government also told the court that its model Standard Operating Procedure (SOP), meant to trace missing children, has been revised in view of the change in the Juvenile Justice Act.

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.

The new sections in the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015, notified in January 2016, have made it mandatory to report to authorities if a child is found separated from their guardian. As per its Section 32, 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 to 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.