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Organised Crime And Juvenile: An Insightful Analysis With Special Reference To Juvenile Justice Act

Juvenile delinquency is a severe offence that harms the social order in any society. Juvenile crime is on the rise across the world, with more and more young people becoming engaged in violent crimes. In India, the rate of heinous crimes perpetrated by minors is growing.

It is a major concern about the country, and answers to the problem should be pursued with caution. In response to these tendencies, the Indian legal system and court have made certain changes to the rules governing India's juvenile justice system.

'The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act 2015' oversees juveniles in India, mainly those in conflict with the law and in need of care and protection. The Juvenile Justice Act became law in order to offer care, safety, medical care, expansion, and rehabilitation for abused or neglected children.

In order to better understand the causes of teenage delinquency, this study primarily examines judicial intervention in light of the goals and objectives of the Juvenile Justice Act, a piece of legislation passed in 2015: how effective, Overview of juvenile law reactions to significant acts committed by juveniles in India, Gaps and loopholes in law, Specific assistance for children who commit violent crimes with Judicial Pronouncements.

Children are the most valuable resource and asset of our country; they should be allowed and encouraged to grow up to be strong, contributing members of society. These future leaders ought to be morally upright, intellectually sharp, and physically fit-qualities necessary for society to continue.

Moreover, it is our social duty to provide them with the knowledge and tools they need. We can reduce inequality and uphold social justice by giving every child equal development opportunities during their early years; this tactic also serves as a useful means of reducing juvenile crime. Children are expected by society to be models of obedience, respect, and the instillation of exemplary values; however, for a variety of reasons, they frequently stray from accepted social and legal norms.

Juvenile delinquency[i] has recently became an essential part of the criminal justice system. Juveniles exhibit significant kinds of delinquent conduct that threaten societal stability. The word delinquency comes from the Latin words 'delinquere', which means 'away', and 'linquere', which means to 'leave or abandon'.

This phrase was originally used to describe young people who had been abandoned or neglected, but it is currently used to refer to any young people who are involved in criminal activity�a usage that is still common today. Juvenile or 'Child' refers to a person who is younger than eighteen years old.

The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act 2015- Section 2 (35), indeed, provides a definition for the term 'juvenile.' According to this legislation: a juvenile is an individual under eighteen years old. Moreover, courts frequently deliberate on the question of 'Claim of Juvenility'.

Not so social activity by a minor, particularly behaviour that would warrant criminal punishment if he were an adult--this is what we define as juvenile delinquency. Indeed, a Juvenile Delinquent signifies the status of being a juvenile offender.

Juvenile delinquency is mostly caused by social and economic inequality; additionally, we need to make sure that minors who are found to have committed crimes are not mistreated. Individuals do not give up their basic rights when they go to jail.

States all over the nation have enacted laws for the children because society's intended goal of reformation is not achieved by locking up minors; rather, it exposes them to hardened offenders and eliminates any sensitivity they may have towards higher and nobler emotions�a crucial step in achieving punishment's main objective. [State of Uttar Pradesh v. Munna, AIR 1982 SC 806].

The goal of the numerous legislative acts and international treaties is to gradually lower children's involvement in crime to desired levels by discussing the abolition of juvenile delinquency or proposing preventative measures.

In order to fully explore this subject, we must first look into the circumstances and elements that led the young people to participate in activities that are stigmatised. Although poverty, an unfavourable environment, broken homes, and abuse are typically cited as the main causes, it's possible to picture these factors pushing children in the direction of social undesirables.

The 2015 Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act regulates juveniles from India, particularly those who are regarded as 'in conflict with the law' or as 'in need of care and protection'. passed in order to give abused or neglected children a variety of services, including protection, healthcare, development opportunities, and rehabilitation.

The establishment of juvenile homes, youth homes, and care centres for abandoned children, along with specific residences for misbehaving or abandoned teenagers, are all examples of institutional types. The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act of 2015 superseded the 2000 version following the infamous Nirbhaya Gang Rape Case of 2012, which involved a juvenile offender.

Examining juvenile law, the government made an effort in 2015 with the JJ Act, 2000's replacement Act to address the Act's shortcomings. Juveniles who commit crimes are subject to legal jurisdiction; additionally, minors are subject to legal jurisdiction in the event that any of the scenarios listed in section 2(d) materialise. For example, a child who is homeless, whose parents refuse to provide for them, or who lives with someone who threatens to kill or harm them, and so on. This has several negative effects on the Act's application and scope.

The debate that follows examines the issue of juvenile delinquents being reintegrated into society as opposed to being punished as adult offenders; it is a contentious subject with widely held opinions. Furthermore, Indian courts have shown a high degree of judicial activism by actively addressing the problem of juvenile delinquency.

In the Sheela Barse v. Union of India[ii] case, the Supreme Court issued the following statement: We deeply regret that an alarmingly large number of children continue to inhabit our country's jails, despite statutory provisions and frequent admonitions by social scientists. These young people's minds are severely harmed by the jail environment, which separates them from society and fosters a dislike�almost hatred�for the system that put them behind bars.

Definition of Juvenile

A juvenile, a term used to describe a child who is under the legal age, cannot be held accountable for their illegal behaviour, unlike an adult. The precise age ranges that characterise juveniles vary from country to country and even between states in those countries.

According to Section 82 of the Indian Penal Code, no child under the age of seven is believed to have broken the law in India. Moreover, any child between the ages of seven and twelve who is not yet mature enough to understand the nature and consequences of his actions at that particular time is also not considered to have committed an offence. Until the contrary is demonstrated, the law presumes that understanding maturity normally occurs within this age range.

Section 27 of the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 states that any offence (apart from those that are punishable by the Chief Judicial Magistrate's court, any court specifically authorised under the Children Act of 1960, or any other law currently in effect for child treatment, training, and rehabilitation may hear cases involving capital punishment or life in prison.

A person who is younger than sixteen when they appear in court is subject to this. Similarly, the maximum age for this protection is sixteen years old according to various state Children Acts; however, West Bengal and Saurashtra have recently raised it to eighteen.

The Central Children Act of 1960 kept the age at sixteen for boys and raised it to eighteen for girls in order to account for the socioeconomic background of our nation. This meant that a longer period of time was required in order to protect girls. A 1958 law known as The Probation Offenders Act made it unlawful to imprison anyone younger than 21.

Definition of Delinquency

Intervention of Judiciary in relation to the aim and objectives of Juvenile Justice Act

The goal and reach of judicial interpretation in India have grown dramatically in recent years. This expansion is mostly due to the significant rise in legislative activity that has occurred in the modern era; the judiciary must continue to play a vital role in protecting fundamental rights for both citizens and non-cit.

The precise court's responsibilities-a topic that has generated discussion in countries with written constitutions-remain unclear. Judicial activism is a new tool that protects children's rights in the modern era, even in cases where the youngster is labelled as a juvenile offender.

The regularly steps in to protect a child's constitutional, legal, and human rights. The Children's Act was fully adopted by several states until the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection) Act was developed in 2000. This stronger human rights law is enforced in every Indian state.

Two categories of juveniles are specifically addressed by this legislation: those who are in conflict with the law as defined by Section 2(13) and those who are identified under Section 2(14) as needing care or protection. A juvenile or child is defined as an individual who has not reached the age of eighteen in Section 2(12).

The administration of prisons ought to give the health needs of inmates top priority, with the main goal being their rehabilitation and social reintegration.

Sheela Barse fought for the rights of defenceless juveniles under 16 who had been unjustly imprisoned in the case of Sheela Barse vs. Union of India[iii]. The Court emphasised the need for juvenile facilities and housing custody inside of prisons, emphasising that children who are detained need special attention because they are our country's most valuable assets. She fought hard to have these young children released from prisons and schools.

She also supported transparency about the presence of juveniles in the home and in the court system. In addition, she requested a directive requiring District judges to inspect jails or sub-jails within their jurisdictional boundaries to guarantee that all youth in prison have appropriate conditions of confinement. This is a clear indication of her commitment to ensuring the safety of these young people. In Sheela Barse vs Secretary Children Aid Society, in order to protect a child's rights in observation homes, the Supreme Court got involved.

Latest Data- In 2021, a no. of 31170 cases were reported against minors across the country, representing a 4.7% boost over 2020, when the number of cases was 29,768. The vast no. of them � 76.2% or 28,539 were between the ages of 16 and 18. The adolescent crime rate has likewise risen from 6.7% to 7.0%.

According to the 2011 Population Census, India's children population was 4441.5 lakhs. According to the most recent [1]NCRB data, seven out of every hundred minors in the country were involved in some form of criminal behaviour. In all, 37,444 minors were arrested. 32,654 were brought in under parts of the Indian Penal Code, while 4790 were hauled in under state and municipal legislation.

The Per Incuriam Doctrine and Interpretative Evolution in Indian Judicial Justice

Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. shed light on the intricate relationship between judicial experiences and legal conclusions by emphasising the value of experience over logic in the creation of law. His focus on the influence of judges individual policy preferences and life experiences on court decisions is still relevant, especially in light of India's juvenile justice system.

In Indian legal jargon, the term per incuriam refers to a haphazard ruling that disregards foundational legal doctrines or reliable sources. Rather than overturning a decision because of crucial errors, this approach emphasises how important it is to carefully evaluate binding authority.

Simply put, per incuriam describes a situation in which a decision is made quickly without taking into account certain crucial legal requirements that the court must follow. This idea provides examples of cases where a court's ruling may have ignored important legal principles, leading to a conclusion that deviates from accepted legal standards- A.R. Antulay vs R.S. Nayak[iv].

Examining the contradictory interpretations in Umesh Chandra vs. State of Rajasthan[v] exposes an error in identifying the appropriate applicability date of the Rajasthan Children Act. The later Arnit Das vs. State of Bihar[vi] case highlights the incapacity to assess earlier court decisions, which led to a per incuriam decision because important details were overlooked.

However, following instances, such as Pratap Singh vs. State of Jharkhand & Others [vii], illustrate the evolution of the interpretation of the JJ Act. In light of the fact that age determination is ambiguous, this case calls into question the definition of a juvenile in conflict with the law and emphasises the need for a more lenient approach towards juvenile offenders.

Furthermore, the rule's application in cases such as Rajak Mohammad vs State of Himachal Pradesh [viii] emphasises the value of thorough and equitable legal proceedings by illuminating the court's use of doubt in favour of the accused, especially when addressing questions about age.

Because of the seriousness of per incuriam rulings, legal interpretation must be approached with great care and precision, especially when it comes to the delicate field of juvenile justice. It is crucial that the Indian judiciary upholds adherence to established legal principles and relevant precedents with the utmost respect for precedent and diligent legal analysis. This will help to foster a just and consistent legal system that protects the rights of all people, including minors.

Improving JJ Implementation in India:

  1. Improving the Competence of the Juvenile Justice Board:

    • Comprehensive child psychology training for board members.
    • Sensitization programmes for dealing with juvenile-related issues.
    • Ongoing assessments of board members' performance and expertise.
  2. Establishment of Special Police Units:

    • Ensuring that Special Police units are operational at all police stations.
    • Specialised training for police officers who work with juveniles.
    • Adherence to rules for dealing with juvenile-related occurrences sensitively.
  3. Juvenile Justice Law Enforcement:

    • Strong measures to guarantee that current laws are effectively implemented.
    • Ongoing evaluations of legal compliance in juvenile justice cases.
    • The formation of oversight organisations to oversee the enforcement process.
  4. Observation Homes and Shelter Homes Oversight and Revitalization:

    • Consistent observation of the environment and activities within these institutions.
    • Implementation of appropriate counselling and rehabilitation programmes
    • Enforcing stringent protocols to keep Observation Homes from becoming breeding grounds for future offences.
  5. Community Participation and Sensitization:

    • v Community education programmes regarding juvenile criminality.
    • v Promoting community participation in reporting juvenile delinquent cases
    • v Collaboration with local institutions such as Residential Associations to address juvenile misbehaviour and neglect concerns.
  6. A Comprehensive Approach to Prevention and Rehabilitation:

    • Implementation of preventative actions aimed at addressing the underlying causes.
    • Integration of comprehensive juvenile offender rehabilitation programmes.
    • Fostering a favourable environment for youth reintegration into society following rehabilitation.
  7. Periodic Review and Reform:

    • Periodic evaluations of the efficacy of implemented measures.
    • Use of stakeholder feedback to improve juvenile justice policy.
    • Adaptability in addressing growing issues and trends in juvenile delinquency.
India can make considerable progress in reducing the frequency of juvenile delinquency and guaranteeing a brighter future for its young by implementing these varied solutions.

The 2015 Juvenile Justice Act (JJA) is viewed as a move backward from the modern and forward-thinking approach to juvenile justice pioneered by the Apprentices Act of 1850. By enabling the use of prisons under specific conditions, the Act appears to revert to early 1920s practises, when jails were occasionally utilised for the confinement of minors. Juvenile delinquency refers to anti-social behaviour displayed by kids that would be a criminal if the subject were an adult.

Delinquent behaviour is frequently blamed on social and economic maladjustment. Even if these minors are proved to have committed crimes, they cannot be mistreated. Their fundamental rights continue to apply even when they are incarcerated. Furthermore, because the primary goal of punishment is reformation, sending adolescents to jails will not fulfil the societal goal.

The JJ system, which started as an extension of the system of criminal justice, has obviously severed links with it, as seen by the JJA requirements. Recognising the juvenile justice system's independence is critical for passing and enforcing rules that assure justice.

The judiciary has repeatedly intervened in the juvenile justice system, exhibiting its activity by emphatic JJ and juvenile delinquency judgements. Recognising the significance of carefully treating and guiding children, the court emphasises the obligation of each generation to nurture children properly. Any failure in this area would represent a flaw in society and the government.

  1. A. Vijayalakshmi, An Analytical View Of Juvenile Justice And Rehabilitation Measures In India, 4 MLJ Crl 37, Madras Law Journal - Criminal (Journal Article), (2011).
  2. [ii] AIR 1986 SC 1773
  3. [iii] AIR 1986 SC 1773
  4. [iv] (1988) 2 SCC 602
  5. [v] (1982) 2 SCC 202
  6. [vi] (1982) 2 SCC 202
  7. [vii] (2005) 3 SCC 551
  8. [viii] 2018 (3) SCC (Cri.) 753

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