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Trial Of Juvenile In Heinous Offences

In terms of beliefs, viewpoints, and moral and ethical standards, society has changed dramatically. What was considered corrupt a era ago is no longer thought so. The craving for a good life, additional opportunities, and luxury has opened up new paths for expansion.

However, the same objectives have pushed us to a fast-paced lifestyle with less time for ourselves and personal reflection. Children would have been affected by these social and individual expansions. They are now subjected to an ever-increasing racing, competitiveness, and stress in order to improve their performance in every field, which has added to the complexity.

Since 2015, India had a new act that allows the treatment of juveniles above 16 years of age to be treated as adults. This change brought about various objections as well. This short article is deal with the provisions of Indian laws on the treatment of children as adults.

Heinous Offence Meaning:

The Juvenile Justice (JJ) Act Of 2015 Divides Offences Into Three Main Categories:

  1. Petty offences
  2. Serious offences
  3. Heinous offences
The term 'heinous offences' as per Section 2(33) of the Juvenile Justice Act 2015 refers to crimes for which the Indian Penal Code, 1860 or any other law in force instructs a minimum sentence of seven years in jail imprisonment or more. A minimum duration of incarceration of seven years or more is required for an offence to be categorize as a "heinous offence."

For Example: The crime of 'murder or rape, which is punishable by death or imprisonment "for a time period of not less than seven years, but which may extend to life imprisonment or death," will be considered as 'heinous offence' because the least punishment is seven years in jail.

Are minor be treated as an adult in India?

Minor is only be treated as adult if he / she commits any heinous crime like murder, rape, etc. and their crime is proved(only in heinous offences) decided by JJB on preliminary assessment (Section 15)
  1. Mens rea and physical capacity
  2. Ability to understand the consequences of offences
  3. Circumstances in which offences are committed
  4. Process regarding the trial of the offenders:
    • Brief information regarding the Juvenile Justice Act:
      • According to the JJ Act, 2015, a juvenile is a person who has not completed 18 years of age. However, the Act also provides for a special provision for trying juveniles in the age group of 16-18 as adults in cases of heinous offences.
    • Step 1: Preliminary assessment by the JJB:
      1. The Juvenile Justice Board (JJB) is a quasi-judicial body that deals with cases involving children in conflict with the law.
      2. Preliminary assessment: It has conducted a preliminary assessment regarding the mental and physical capacity of the juvenile to commit such an offence, the ability to understand the consequences of the crime, and the circumstances in which it was allegedly committed.
      3. The assistance of psychologists: The JJB has to take the assistance of psychologists or experts who have experience working with children in difficult times and undergo training concerning Section 15 of the JJ Act, 2015.
      4. Social Investigation Report: The JJB also has to consider the Social Investigation Report or Social Background Report prepared by a probation officer or a social worker after interacting with the child or his family.
      5. The JJB has to provide a copy of its order to the child, his family, and his legal aid counsel.
    • Step 2: Transfer of case to the Juvenile Court (Children's Court):
      1. If the JJB passes an order that there is a need for the trial of the child as an adult, then it may order the transfer of the case to the Juvenile Court having jurisdiction to try such offences.
      2. The Children's Court is a designated court that deals with cases transferred by the JJB under Section 18 of the JJ Act, 2015.
      3. The Children's Court has to conduct a trial in accordance with the regulations of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 and may pass any verdict authorized by law apart from the death penalty or life imprisonment without the possibility of release.

Steps to be taken to improve Juvenile Justice System:

  1. Education and Rehabilitation:
    Focus on education and rehabilitation in juvenile facilities to address root causes of crime, such as substance abuse, mental health issues, and lack of education. Providing mentoring, job training, and technical training opportunities is essential.
  2. Wisdom of safety:
    Anxiety and depression in youth are growing at a distressing rate. It is very significant for parents to support their children in dealing with psychological problems, especially in teenagers. Many teenagers face hormonal changes and struggle in their daily life. Parents must provide them a sense of comfort and security.
  3. Sense of principles and social ideals:
    Schools and parents should teach students moral education that will deter them from committing any crime. It is important for youth to learn that their success and achievements in life should not be built on the failures of others.
  4. Opportunity to earn:
    Governments should also initiate schemes that provide skills to students, enabling them to make extra efforts to improve their lives. Vocational training should be provided so that students can earn money to support their families in times of economic crisis.
  5. Counselling of Parents:
    Becoming a parent may be the most rewarding experience you will ever have, but it is also the most difficult. The relationship between parent and child is the most important basis for preventing child abuse. If parents advise their children by understanding their situations and problems and try to solve them like their friends or counselors, there will be no need for a counselor in their children's lives.
  6. Counselling of children:
    Due to unhealthy competition and peer pressure, it is very important to assess the psychological health of children. Parents should be attentive towards the mental and physical health of the children. They should visit counselors from time to time and take their ward to student counseling.

The law means that the crime is committed with the conscience or will of the perpetrator, that he knows that this behavior will be against the law, and that he is punished. Children under the age of 16 who are mature enough to understand men's behavior should not be considered innocent.

The Juvenile Justice System developed throughout the world with a conception that children are not mature like adults. They do not understand the nature and consequences of their actions. The idea is based on the law of "doli incapax", which states that children cannot commit crimes.

Additionally, the protection objectives that the 2015 Law aims to deliver will be achieved using a reformed approach. Therefore, while developing a juvenile justice strategy in India, the restorative justice system should be given the second priority that is important for recovery or regeneration.

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