The Bombay High Court has advised the police to change its mindset after they failed to trace a minor girl who went missing last year from Thane district in Maharashtra.

All missing girls don’t elope with lovers

In an order passed on July 10, the court said that the police authorities must stop assuming that every missing  minor girl elopes with her lover, as often depicted in films, reported TOI.

The bench of judges consisted of Justices SC Dharamadhikari and Bharati Dangre.

They said, “We are most unhappy with the state of affairs and the prevailing mindset of the police… Let not the investigating teams and officials placed at the highest level treat every case as one where the girl child runs away with the boy she loves, particularly as depicted in cinema or a film on the screen.”

They concluded saying, “…it is high time that a change is brought about in their mindsets”.

Petition by missing girl’s father

The court was hearing a writ petition filed by a girl’s father who was requesting for quick action by the police to search his daughter. The observations were made by the court during the hearing.

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Additional Public Prosecutor J P Yagnik had submitted a report in the court on behalf of the police. In the report, the police expressed helplessness while trying to trace the minor.

It stated that the girl left her house of her own will after she was ‘enticed’ to do so by a senior boy from her school.

Yagnik told the court that both of them had eloped to Tamil Nadu and changed locations repeatedly.

Read Also: More Than 63 Million Women Missing In India

Yagnik also told the bench that the boy’s parents had been examined and their statements recorded. According to the police, they were not under suspicion.

The court, however, did not seem convinced. They asked, “Can school children stay on their own in an unknown place for so long? How are they changing locations, shifting hotels, who is giving them the money? Why don’t you go back to question the family and relatives? How can you (police) be sure that they haven’t been lying?”

The court said that mindsets like these destroy the intention of laws like the Juvenile Justice Act, and the Prevention of Children from Sexual Offences (POSCO) Act.

The police have now been given two weeks by the court to come up with a fresh report with some positive and constructive changes.

Read Also: 26,000 Women Missing Over Last Five Years In Mumbai

Kriti Dwivedi is an intern with SheThePeople.Tv

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