New Delhi: Nobel laureate Kailash Satyarthi on Tuesday lauded Indian judiciary for playing an "important role" in curbing cases of crime against children including those of the boys/girls going missing and also urged people to "stand up" when they witness exploitation of young ones.
While Mr Satyarthi showered praises on judiciary, he expressed concerns over lack of efforts on the part of the executive and cited example of governments in Delhi until now not framing a law aimed at dealing with child trafficking despite Delhi High Court ordering so some years ago.
"There are many many cases in which the judiciary played an important role in reduction in crime against children. Be it child labour, restoring child education, enrolment of poor children.
"...the net result was that... up to 2012-13, each year the number of children missing, according to NCRB, was about 1,30,000. Now, thanks to the judiciary, the number as on last year has gone down to 38,000," Mr Satyarthi noted as he shared experiences of his Bachpan Bachao Andolan in court cases involving children.
The Nobel Peace Prize winner made the remark during his 36th Bhim Sen Sachar Memorial lecture here on 'Pioneering the Role of Judiciary in a Fight for Childhood Freedom'.
Mr Satyarthi made a strong pitch for ensuring "childhood freedom". He expressed concerns over big number of placement agencies operating in Delhi without a proper check. Mr Satyarthi alleged many of such agencies are into trafficking of children, especially girls, but rued the previous and present Government in Delhi is yet to come up with a law in this regard.
"We had brought it (role of placement agencies) to the notice of HC which passed a very strong judgment that Delhi Government must regulate the agencies by enacting a new law.
"We are hoping, waiting for quite some time. The governments came and went. But until now, the previous or the new government, has not yet brought a new legislation as is required by the court," he said.
Mr Satyarthi said the challenges relating to crime against children are "steep", but added that abolition of child "slavery" is "not unachievable" and urged the attendees to consider their role as "collective responsibility".
"This is the moral responsibility of each citizen. If you see exploitation of any child, anywhere around you, break the silence. Do your bit. Stand up. March with me," he appealed.
The event was also addressed by former Chief Justice of India Justice A S Anand and veteran journalist Kuldip Nayar.
Ex-Delhi HC chief justice Rajinder Sachar was amongst those who attended the event.