Juvenile delinquency…it’s inside out
“if every saint has a past then every criminal has a future”...Mahatma Gandhi
So in the case of a child offender, special care should be given to his future for it is yet in a budding state and is not beyond repair.
Juvenile delinquency refers to the antisocial or criminal activity of the child (below 16 years of age for boys and 18 years for girls) which violates the law. In true context, that same activity would have been a crime if it was committed by the adult.
Juvenile delinquency is a gateway to adult crime, since a large percentage of criminal careers have their roots in childhood causing serious problems all over the world. Today, it has become a topic of great concern and needs to be discussed at a serious note. The complexity grows as we go into the statistical data of developed countries when compared to the still developing ones. A total of 44284 crimes were committed by the juvenile offenders during 1978 which showed an increase of 0.6% over 1977. It has been noted that theft and robbery add to a major percentage of these crimes. Murder, rape, dacoity, burglary, kidnapping are a few more that add to the rest of it. On the basis of the available statistics, an inference can be drawn that these crimes are on the increasing path.
The term ‘juvenile’ has been defined in clause (h) of Section 2 of the Juvenile Justice Act, 1986. The term ‘delinquency’ has been defined in clause (e) of section 2 of the Juvenile Justice Act, 1986.
CAUSES OF DELINQUENCY:-
The causes for juvenile crime are usually found at each level of the social structure, including society as a whole, social institutions, social groups and organizations, and interpersonal relations. Juveniles’ choice of delinquency are fostered by a wide range of factors, the most important of which are described below.
As per the behavioral study done on delinquent children by the psychologists, it suggests that the child does any delinquent act because his mind tells him to do it. In other words he does this because he wants to do it. These kinds of acts provides immense satisfaction to the offenders and so they see nothing wrong in it.
As the joint family system is coming to an end a, new trend has evolved where in both the parents are working and as a result children are left neglected and such isolation leads the child’s involvement in wrongful acts.
One of the major reasons as to why children are entering into the worlds of crime is because of their bad company. Children who are in bad company knowingly or unknowingly indulge in criminal activities. It is this Bad company which motivates them to commit crime.
This is the theory of our society. Generally when we see someone or hear someone’s involvement in a crime, we actually label him as a criminal. For example, calling someone a failure may push him towards doing wrongful acts . Such terminology becomes identification marks of these individuals and they thus rarely make an attempt to come out of it.
Atmosphere at home:
An individual may have certain problems within his home which may have led him to the wrong society. Like treatment from step mothers, poverty, Effect of T.V or Internet or other media. Such cases are mostly seen with children who do not have anyone to look after them after they return from school or there is least or excess of discipline exercised on them by the elders of the family.
Neighborhood is that part of the society which may affect the acts of an individual at large. It marks an individual’s ability to deal with Delinquency. If one finds gamblers, quarrelling couples, drunkards around him, then this is all that he would fall into and finally end up as a criminal.
Guardian here refers to parents, grandparents, relatives, teachers and any other caretaker that the child may come across in his daily life. The behavior of all of the above towards the child should be ideal, at the same time they should understand the needs and problems of the child to prevent him from indulging into crimes.
Juvenile Delinquency: It’s Legality
Juvenile Justice Act, 1986, was the first central legislation on Juvenile Justice, prior to which each state had its own enactment on juvenile justice, which differed in the way juveniles were treated by the different state legal systems. The Indian Constitution provides in clause (3) of article 15 and clauses (e) and (f) of Article 39, Article 47 and Article 45.
On 20th November 1989, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Convention on the Rights of the Child i.e. right to survival, protection, development and participation. The Government of India, ratified the said UN Convention on the 11th December 1992, and re-enacted the existing law, viz., Juvenile Justice Act, 1986.
However since it did not yield the expected result, so the government proposed an act called Juvenile Justice (Care and protection of children) Act, 2000. The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000, which has replaced the earlier Juvenile Justice Act, 1986, has been enforced in the entire country except the State of Jammu & Kashmir from 1st April 2001.
Juvenile Justice (Care and protection of children) Act, 2000
The Act seeks to consolidate and modify the law relating to juveniles in conflict with the law and children in need of care and protection, by providing for proper care, protection and treatment by catering to their development needs, and by adopting a child-friendly approach in the adjudication and disposition of matters in the best interest of children.
Sections 9 to 12 of the Juvenile Justice Act facilitates the Government to establish Juvenile Homes, Special Homes, Observation Homes and After Care Organisations respectively for the Juveniles.
For the betterment of the children the Juvenile Justice Act,2000 has introduced Special Trial Process.
Section 3 : If an inquiry has been initiated against a juvenile and if during the course of which he ceases to be a juvenile then the inquiry may be continued as if he had been a juvenile.
Section 4 :- The state Government can constitute one or more juvenile welfare boards for discharging the duties conferred upon them in relation to the neglected juveniles under this Act.
Section 5 : the state Govt. to constitute one or more Juvenile courts for exercising the power conferred upon such court in relation to delinquent juveniles under this Act.
Section 6 : This section provides that a person appointed as a member of the Board or as a Magistrate shall possess special knowledge of child psychology and child welfare.
Section 7: This section asks the Board or the Juvenile Court to hold its proceedings in a room which is different from the ordinary setting if a civil or criminal court.
Section 29 : This section allows a guardian or parents who have a certain extend of control over the child to be present at the court thus providing the child with the mental support that he needs and destroying the feeling of loneliness that may engulf the child.
In recent years, children and their problems have been receiving attention of both government and the society. But it has been seen that the problems are enormous and never ending, thus resulting in lack of everything that has been done till today. If these problems are not curbed soon then the growth of the children will be hampered giving a dark future to our country. The amendments that have been raised should be implemented in such a manner that the fruitful result is achieved. The social, economic and other factors which have been the root causes of Juvenile Delinquency needs to be dealt with at the very initial stage. Every society must, therefore, devote full attention to ensure that children are properly cared for and brought up in a proper atmosphere, where they could receive adequate training, education and guidance in order that they may be able to have their rightful place in the society when they grow up.
# Juvenile Delinquency World YOUTH Report, 2003.
# Juvenile Justice (Care and protection of children) Act, 2000
# Law relating to Women and Children by Mamta Rao
# Narain, Arvind, A Critique of the Juvenile Justice Act 2002
# Juvenile Delinquency by K.Padmaja
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