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SC seeks Centre's response on agency, law to curb trafficking

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  26 Aug 2017 12:00 AM GMT

New Delhi, Aug 25: The Supreme Court on Friday sought response from the Central government on the status of setting up of an ‘Organised Crime Investigation Agency’ to combat trafficking of women and children and a comprehensive law to deal with its cases.

The Bench of Justice Madan B. Lokur and Justice Deepak Gupta sought government’s response as counsel Apar Bhat, appearing for the petitioner, told the court that even 18 months after it had issued direction to set up the OCIA to investigate trafficking cases, nothing seems to have happened so far.

The top court by its December 6, 2015, order had directed the agency be set up by September 30, 2016, and made operatiol by December 1, 2016. Besides this, the court had given six months’ time to the committee set up by the Ministry of Women and Child Development for drafting the comprehensive legislation to address all aspect of trafficking of women and children.

This committee, headed by the Secretary, Women and Child Development, was set up on November 16, 2015. The petitioner said that the Committee for drafting anti-trafficking legislation held many sittings and discussed at length various components that ought to be included in the draft, but the draft legislation, brought out by the government, did not have many components it had suggested.

The draft was withdrawn as it faced wide criticism after being was brought into the public domain. The petitioner told the court that it has learnt from media reports that “there is a difference of opinion between two ministries - Ministry of Women and Child Development and the Union Home Ministry - about the need for a comprehensive legislation and the bill is therefore not placed before the parliament..”

The application by Bhat says that the need for a comprehensive legislation was primarily due to the fact that the “current framework of the law, did not and does not provide for a holistic victim protection regime and it does not take into account the larger picture of the manner in which traffickers are operating”. (IANS)

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