Slamming the State government, a Division Bench of the Kerala High Court on Thursday observed that a serious investigation should be conducted to find out the real reason for the ‘trafficking’ of a large number of children from other States.

The Bench, comprising Chief Justice Manjula Chellur and Justice P.R. Ramachandra Menon, made the observation when a public interest petition, filed by Rajendra Prasad, president of Thampu, (National Trust for Tribal Education, Development and Research), Kochi, and another person seeking immediate repatriation of the children, came up for hearing.

The court observed that the State government should conduct a serious investigation to find why such large number of children from outside the State was brought to Kozhikode and Palakkad and not to Thiruvananthapuram or Kochi. The court also directed the State government to place on record from time to time the investigation being conducted by the Crime Branch into the incident.

Terming the handling of the incident by the government as shameful, the Bench orally observed that the actions taken by the government did not inspire confidence. The court observed that it suspected involvement of some influential person behind this large-scale child trafficking. It would not have been possible without the help of a powerful person as the children had travelled all the way from far away States. The government seemed to be sacred of somebody. The court noted that the government did not know any details of the children.

The court directed the State government to furnish the details of children who were brought from Jharkhand, Bihar and West Bengal, including their age and names of the institution where they were accommodated. The court also directed the State government to place on record the list of the children who were sent back. Their names and identity and institutions where they were housed should also be provided. The Bench suo motu impleaded Social Welfare Principal Secretaries of Bihar, West Bengal, Jharkhand and the Secretary, Union Ministry of Railways, as additional respondents.

Additional Advocate General K.A. Jaleel submitted that of the 588 children, 46 children were sent back to their respective States and 31 restored to their parents. The court posted the next hearing to June 19.

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