Delhi Police tells High Court it requires more information from Centre on missing children

New Delhi: The Delhi Police on Monday told the Delhi High Court that it has held a trial run of its newly acquired face recognition software (FRS) for tracing missing children and they required more details from the Centre regarding the place from where some of the missing children were found.

The police said that in pursuance to the court's earlier direction, it has procured photographic data of the missing children from the Ministry of Women and Child Development (MWCD) but it needed further details of places from where the children, who were identified in the face recognition software test, were reported to be found. Delhi Police, in an affidavit, said: "on processing the photographic data of so-far missing children for matching with the records of so-far found children on the newly acquired FRS, the software application gave 2,930 matches between the missing database photographic records and the found database photographs."

File image of Delhi police. AFP

File image of Delhi police. AFP

"These results have been sent back to the Secretary MWCD/NIC on 10 April as Delhi Police required further details of places from where the children under the matched results were reported to be found.

"The Secretary, MWCD was given back the results of 2,930 with the request to intimate the concerned state police/authorities to take further necessary action and also requested that the field enquiry results thereof may be collected..." it said. A bench of Justices S Muralidhar and IS Mehta was told that on examination of the data of 2,930 matched photographs by Delhi Police, 156 photographs of children seem to be missing from Delhi.

According to the data received from the ministry on 6 April, the number of missing children are 65,906 and found ones are 40,137. The police said they have requested the MWCD to provide details on urgent basis about the places from where these children were reportedly found in order to facilitate the field enquiries and take further actions for restoration of missing children, identified during matching of the missing and found children database with help of face recognition software.

The Delhi Police still awaits the MWCD/NIC response for making field enquiries for the cases relating to Delhi, the police said in the affidavit.

They said the ministry be asked to "provide arrangement/ design module for enabling Delhi Police ZIPNET Application to electronically search 'FOUND CHILDREN' data on the link from the www.trackthemissingchild.gov.in for taking further action without waiting for the response from the MWCD/NIC."

To this, the court asked the secretary of the ministry, represented through Central government standing counsel Anil Soni, to file an affidavit in this regard. The high court had earlier pulled up the Centre for not sharing the details of missing children with the police despite its orders and warned of initiating contempt action if due seriousness was not shown in the 20-year-old matter.

It had said the police officials were ultimately responsible for tracking down the missing children and the more the MWCD delayed sharing its database with the police, the greater would be the problem.

The court had earlier asked the police to run on a trial basis a FRS, developed by a private entity, which can help trace and rescue missing children. Earlier, NGO Bachpan Bachao Andolan (BBA) had given a proposal to give the software to the Delhi Police free of cost.

Senior counsel HS Phoolka and advocate Prabhsahay Kaur, appearing for the NGO, had submitted in the court that Vision Box, the software developer, has offered the FRS free of cost for one year, provided it was used only for tracing missing children. The bench was hearing a PIL regarding missing children and has been examining ways and means to address the issue of tracing and restoring them to their families.


Updated Date: Apr 23, 2018 21:35 PM

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