The high court on Thursday criticised police of North and South 24-Parganas for their failure to trace 12 girls missing since 2009.
The bench headed by Justice Ashim Kumar Roy directed the police superintendents of both districts to appear before it on August 30 and clarify why the girls had not yet been tracked down.
"It's a serious matter. There are cells in North and South 24-Parganas to deal with problems related to trafficking. Why are they not working properly? Why are they not obeying court orders and filing reports before the bench?" the division bench wondered.
In response to an order of the court, the CID had in September 2010 submitted before the bench headed by Chief Justice J.N. Patel that over 2,500 girls had been trafficked from Bengal in 2009 and 2010. The agency had admitted that it was in the dark about where the girls had been taken.
Justice Patel then asked the government to open a dedicated cell in every district to deal with trafficking cases.
On December 7 last year, an NGO, Bahumukhi Gram Unnayan Samity, had moved the high court submitting that nine minor girls from South 24-Parganas and three from North 24-Parganas had gone missing in 2009.
"We approached the National Human Rights Commission, which passed an order directing the Bengal government to take the issue seriously and ask the investigators to find out the whereabouts of the girls. But the government is yet to take any action," the NGO had claimed.
On December 23 last year, the division bench headed by Justice Roy had ordered the CID to probe the disappearance. But the agency filed an affidavit in February, submitting that it was overburdened with pending cases and pleaded with the bench to ask the dedicated cells in the two districts to take up the probe.
The bench then ordered the police chiefs of the districts to ask the cells to conduct a probe and file reports before the court.
"But till date the police superintendents have not submitted any report. When the matter came up on Thursday, the police prayed for more time. The judges became furious and asked the superintendents to be present before them on August 10," a court official said.