The Supreme Court on Thursday issued notice to the Centre and all the state governments on a PIL seeking its direction to them for tracing 55,000 missing children in the country.

The Supreme Court on Thursday issued notice to the Centre and the State governments, seeking their response to a Public Interest Litigation petition demanding a direction for immediate steps to trace about 55,000 children who had been kidnapped in the past three years for the purpose of prostitution, bonded labour and removal of vital organs such as kidneys and eyes.

A Bench comprising Justices Aftab Alam and Ranjana Desai issued notice on the petition filed by advocate Sarwa Mitter, who cited various reports.

According to one such report tabled in Parliament, as many as 7,640 such victims were from Haryana (3,237), Chandigarh (286), Uttarakhand (1,482), Himachal Pradesh (670), Punjab (599) and Jammu and Kashmir (366).

The petition faulted the Central and State governments for their failure to trace the missing children and protect their fundamental right to life and liberty. A number of the victims were being used for bootlegging and smuggling, it alleged.

“There is selling and buying of children for illegal acts, sexual exploitation and child trafficking,” it said.

The petition sought a direction for setting up of a committee to keep a watch on missing children and the steps being taken to trace them.

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