The propensity to crime is at its maximum at the age when strength and passions
have reached their height ; yet when reason has not acquired sufficient control
to master their combined influence -Adolphe Quetelet, eminent Belgian social
This quotation lucidly harbingers the alarming rise of criminal activities, by
juveniles in the last two decades. Now the question which strikes us is what
does the term Delinquency mean? Etymologically, it has been derived from the
Latin word Delinquer which means to omit. To imagine a crimeless society is to
live in utopia. Crime has been a baffling problem ever since the dawn of human
civilization and man’s effort to tussle with this obstacle have only partially
succeeded. Individuals from all age groups are committing offences unflinchingly
or under serious threat or coercion.
Doli incapax is unfortunately committing
transgressions of serious nature. This varied transgressions by children and
adolescents which the society staunchly disapproves and for which some kinds of
punitive measures or reformative steps are justified in the public interest at
large, is referred to as Juvenile Delinquency.
Sociologists have observed that neglected children and juveniles fall and easy
prey to criminal acts which may be attributed to their brazen nature, lack of
self-control, tendency to flout norms and rules, desire for the hidden,
over-flowing emotions or physical strength and endurance. The globe has
witnessed a massive transition from the age of simplicity to the age of
complexity with a marked increase in the degree of offences, from the belief of
live and let live to the diabolical desires of live and let die.
The exact definition of delinquency has always remained a debatable issue,
criminologists contradict their views arguing that the statutes dealing with
various juvenile offences were ambiguous in terms of their contents because they
are contrary to the fundamental principle of criminal law, as expressed through
the Latin maxim ‘nullum crimen sine lege’ which implies an act cannot be a crime
unless it is so defined under the existing decree.
Juvenile Delinquency in a
wider sense refers to the antisocial behavior of a child but various acts are
included within the umbrella of juvenile delinquency, which are otherwise not
criminal in nature, like : smoking, drinking, wandering outside home in late
night. These are not exactly in accordance with the confined and precise
definition of crime but are still conducts which are treated as juvenile acts
because they are reformative in nature, created not to punish the juveniles but
to prohibit them from such lascivious and intractable conduct.
Renowned American baseball pitcher Bob Feller says “My father kept me busy from
dawn to dust when I was a kid. When I wasn’t pitching hay, hauling corn or
running a tractor, I was heaving a baseball into his mitt behind the barn…. If
all parents in the country followed his rule, juvenile delinquency would be cut
in half in a year’s time”. This depicts how the surroundings of a child play a
vital role in his grooming into a perfect human being.
Every home ideally should be Child Care Home, a safer haven for the young ones where they should learn
the morals, ethics, socializing, the ability to judge the right and the wrong,
their early experiences, the bonds they form with their parents and these
in-turn deeply affect their future physical, cognitive, emotional, social
But the ground realities are different. Noxious surroundings,
neglect of basic needs, bad company and other abuses and temptations would spoil
the child and likely turn him delinquent. “Materialism has adversely affected
familial relationship… homes are breaking and indifference has settled in
community behavior” – Supreme Court.
“Juvenile crime does happen and we have to deal with it. Our goal is not to
investigate nine year olds, but we cannot turn a blind eye towards it”- Keith Kameg.
Juvenile Delinquency is a topic that has been debated and discussed for
centuries as to why children commit crimes. What factors influenced them to take
the delinquent path? What were the reasons behind them not being able to
distinguish between the moral and legal right and wrong? It is also interesting
to know whether they were aware of the consequences they will have to face for
their actions, did they have the maturity to comprehend of what they were doing.
These questions have been asked frequently while exploring the cause behind
juvenile delinquency. There are various reasons like Economic Factors,
Psychological Factors, Sociological Factors and Influence of Media which can
sway an innocent mind to take the immoral path.
Economic factors can be summed up to one problem, paucity of money.
in recent years in India has shown that a large group of juveniles approximately
50.2 percent belonged to the low income families. Their annual income was around
twenty-five thousand rupees. Such parents usually leave their children without
a company due to their work, leaving no one to guide the moral compass of the
young child whose mind is still developing.
The children in absence of their
parents is on a ship in the harsh seas without the captain guiding them. With
constant crunch of money and absence of a moral compass, it is very common for
children to take up odd jobs. Their main focus is to earn money and for them the
means to earn does not matter. They are easy targets for criminals who often
exploit them. From minor crimes like pickpocketing, stealing to heinous crime
like dacoity and murder, all of them have in most cases a common object money.
child who has seen his or her parents struggle to make money and make their ends
meet, usually tries to do whatever he or she can to contribute to the family.
We must also factor in the psychology of a delinquent mind, as to what is his
mental health. It is often seen that youngsters involved in crimes have a
They have emotional problems of jealousy, inferiority, lack of
attention and are often mocked by their peers. Healy and Bronner in their study
of 143 delinquents found that 92% of them were facing some form of mental
illness or emotional problem. Apart from emotional problems, it has been
observed that a good number of delinquents are mentally deficient.
average intelligence of a normal group of children was found to be 100, Burt in
his study in London has observed in his report that the average intelligent
quotient of delinquents children is 8-5. On similar studies it was found that
the average intelligence of the juvenile delinquents was much lower than the
average intelligence of a normal group of children of the same age. Such
children who cannot distinguish between right and wrong are used by the more
intelligent child or adult for criminal purposes.
Thus from psychology point of
view delinquents are governed by the ‘pleasure principle’. They are in the
search for instant and immediate pleasure and satisfaction of their needs.
Unfortunately they become the victim of their own impulses due to their
inability to control their impulses nor to think properly the consequences of
their actions. A point worth mentioning is some delinquents with maladjusted
emotions purposely becomes a delinquent as to gain their parents attention or as
a protest against their treatment.
Sociological factors such as the environment around the children have an immense
influence on their behavior and minds. Juveniles often develop a delinquent sub
culture due to the cultural deprivation and frustration that they go through.
Peer pressure also compels them to take the delinquent path. In their rebellious
stage, juveniles often go against the morals and principles upheld by the
Juveniles according to Cloward and Ohlin develop delinquent tendencies
depending upon what opportunities are available to them in their surroundings.
The youth may become criminals if they have opportunities to learn illegal
activities. They may indulge in acts of street brawls of hooliganism. Poverty
struck environment and the lack of proper education are also responsible for
The family plays a crucial role in the development of a
child. Hence if he or she has been brought up in a toxic and abusive family,
they may also acquire those traits. The neighborhood where a child is brought up
also play an important role in the character building. Juvenile delinquents are
more often seen in poorer neighborhood where the juveniles feels that committing
crimes is necessary for them to prosper. Crimes committed by them is out of
necessity and not by evil intentions. For them it is an act of survival, where
there is no right and wrong.
Media is a powerful tool with enormous power to influence people of all ages.
With its wide spectrum, it has often been criticized for juvenile delinquency.
Lawlessness is more prevalent among young people associated with media.
free and unrestricted access to media it is bound to affect the young minds who
cannot differentiate between the real and unreal. Media has played both positive
and negative role for young minds who are exploring the world, trying to find
their place in the society. From showing the endless possibilities and
opportunities one can find and achieve in this vast world to showing outright
filth and unethical practices and activities that take place around the globe.
With a developing mind who cannot understand the right and wrong, real and
unreal many youngsters deviate to the latter part.
Mass shootings in USA, the
unprecedented rise of rape crime among teenagers in India are few examples of
how easy is it to influence the young children. Another thing to note is the
influence of video games on the young fallible minds. Games like PUBG mobile
whose main player base is twelve to seventeen year olds have seen an
unprecedented rise of crimes committed by youngest for trivial matters. Crimes
ranging from committing suicide to murder of family members, it is bone
chilling to see how a game that is filled with violence can do to these
A recent a teenager in Florida was arrested by police for making a statement
while playing a video game where he said I vow to bring my father’s M15 to
school and kill seven people. USA which has seen several school mass shootings
recently treats such crimes as acts of terror and arrests any person making such
statements. Another example is a case in India, in which a fifteen year old
kills his elder brother for scolding him over playing PUBG. It is horrifying to
see that kids have such heinous thoughts in their minds.
Crime rate in the last few decades has unprecedently shot up by the children
around sixteen years. The more alarming part is that children (especially under
the age group of five to seven years) nowadays are used rather misused as tools
for committing crimes, because at this point their mental faculty is in the
primary developing stage and they can easily be manipulated.
The horrific incident of Nirbhaya Delhi gang rape case on December 16th 2012,
shook the whole nation and series of debates succeeded among legal fraternity
and socialists. The main reason and issue of the debate was the involvement of
one of the accused who was just six months short of attaining the age of
majority, eighteen years.
The involvement of the accused in such a heinous crime
like rape forced the Indian legislation to repeal the old law, as the Indian
parliament came up with Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act,
Arguments were brought forward that the blanket immunity from criminal
prosecution to juvenile below eighteen years need to be withdrawn in cases of
involvement of juveniles in heinous offences like murder, gang rape, acid
attacks. The recent amendment reduced the age of juvenile offenders who can be
tried as adults to sixteen years.
On this the Supreme Court noted
Parliamentary decisions should not be carried out just in emotion and anger.
Will the political class reconsider and legislate a better Juvenile Act ?.
There are fifteen year old teens also who are accused of grievous offences like
rape, fourteen years olds are committing murders. Punishment should be
reformative not retributed especially in the purview of juveniles in conflict
with law. Except in case of rare offences democracies in general make laws which
give punishment to the guilty not as means of exacting revenge but in order to
make the guilty pass through a correctional phases. In our opinion criminality
is much more important criterion than age of offender, thus the amendment should
be in terms of non-applicability of the juvenility condition in cases like rape,
murder, waging war against the State and so on and so forth. There are certain
flaws in the bill, provision that if children are engaged in militant
activities, their punishment would be maximum seven years. It sends a shiver
down the spine to imagine notorious terrorists who unflinchingly committing
genocide can be set free if they are not majors! Another aspect which comes to
minds is how important and effective the age criteria introspect further? For
example, if a family plots revenge against another family or against their
distant kin with whom they bear deep rooted antipathy, they might decide to make
their fifteen year old the perpetrator of the crime, cunningly being well aware
that he or she will be released before eighteen. Thus, to conclude law has
loopholes and justice is not served in all cases.
Putting aside the scepticism and controversies, we would like to bring forth the
decisions regarding determination of the age of juvenile in conflict with law by
citing some landmark judgements which in span of over three decades were
overruled and modified until the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of
Children) Act 2015 came into existence.
In the case of Krishna Bhagwan v. State of Bihar, the full bench of Patna High
Court observed that to determine the age of juvenile for the purpose of this
trail under the Juvenile Justice Act, the relevant date should be the date on
which the offence is committed and not the date on which the juvenile in
conflict with law is brought before court.
Thus when the juvenile accused is
within the age limit prescribed by the act, he or she should be tried in a
Juvenile Court (now Juvenile Justice Board under Juvenile Justice Act 2015)
despite the fact that he exceeds that age limit at the time when he was brought
before the competent court for trial.
The Supreme Court reiterated the similar
view in Bhola Bhagat v. State of Bihar and further explicitly specified that it
is immaterial if the juvenile exceeds the prescribed age on the day.
decision was later overruled by the Supreme Court in Arnit Das v. State of
Bihar, in which it held that the crucial date to decide the issue whether a
person is juvenile or not is the date when he or she is brought before the
competent authority and not the date of commission of the offence.
Presently around forty two percent of the Indian population is below eighteen
years. The recent times have witnessed some of the most brutal and heinous
crimes being perpetrated by the children.
The Madhya Pradesh High Court in its
decision in Sunit and Anr. v. State of ???? clarified that the court cannot
leave determination of the age of juvenile entirely on the evidence of juveniles
but it is required to make an inquiry suo motu.
Apart from age of adulthood, heinousness is also vital component in juvenile
delinquency. Heinous crime is defined as a crime that carries punishment of
seven years of imprisonment or more. Serious white collar crimes liable to long
term imprisonment like forgery, sedition though not violent (not against the
person) are also considered adult heinous offences.
The Juvenile Justice (Care
and Protection of Children) Act 2015 vests the Juvenile Justice Board with the
power to make a preliminary assessment of the maturity of a child above the age
of sixteen years who has committed a heinous offence and the Children’s Court
will infer whether he or she is to be tried like an adult. Scientific research
strongly indicate ‘maturity’ measured through risk assessment abilities is
linked to the growth of the brain which in turn depends upon the age of the
individual. Hence the debate is whether the legislators should go by the gravity
of the heinous crime or do we let our emotions rule our practical thinking.
It is pertinent to note that between 2007 and 2012 the number of heinous crimes
such as rape and murder accounted for only eight percent of the total crime
committed by minors. Seventy-two percent of the crimes was linked to theft,
burglary and causing hurt. Though there is not a rise in heinous crimes by
juveniles as such, there has been an increase in the gravity of the heinous
crimes committed by them.
An overwhelming thirty-three thousand juveniles in the
age group of sixteen to eighteen years were arrested in 2018 alone, on serious
charges like rape and murder, according to a research study conducted by Sibnath
Dey in his Child Safety, Welfare and Well Being: Issues and Challenges. Of
course the numbers continue to rise at an unprecedented rate, which is why we
need to seriously address the question - whether juveniles should be punished
like adults for committing heinous crimes?
However, according to the new amended act, no juvenile would be imprisoned
immediately, they will be sent to Borstals – correctional institutions for the
long term treatment of juvenile offenders. It is a halfway house, as it is
intended to prepare a person for imprisonment after completion of twenty-three
years of age in a regular jail, after which there will be a review of
Lowering the age of juveniles is said to be a measure founded on the
rights of victims, which is as important as the rights of juvenile delinquents.
This is a flaw in the amendment, discriminating sixteen to eighteen years olds,
as cases of crimes like rape and murder have been on a steady rise by juveniles
below sixteen years also. It is not uncommon in India to escape from conviction
by displaying false certificates and reducing age, thereby capitalising on the
loopholes of law.
Recently false, exaggerated facts have been fabricated by the
media, trying to portray the juvenile offenders as demonic perpetrators and the
general notion, that punishment for an offender is justice to the victim in any
criminal cases, has become an important argument for harsh punishments by
advocates of the victims. This differential treatment sparked criticism and was
contested that this provision leads to violation of Article 14 of the Indian
Constitution, that is Right to Equality.
Awarding punishments has other socially
relevant intentions like reform, rehabilitation of the criminals, establishment
of the rule of law and protection of the citizens. Social legislations are made
to deal with issues and problems of the society as a whole. A singular, horrific
incident may provoke action but cannot determine details of legislation. The
judicial system needs to look beyond the views of the victims of concerned case
and decide on basis of legal positions and social consequences. What is
necessary is that there must be a nexus between the basis of classification and
the object of the act under consideration.
According to the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act 2015
juvenile is defined under section 2 (35) as child below the age of eighteen. The
Act provides for uniform age for both boys and girls. This Act provides remedies
and caters justice to two categories of children, ‘child in conflict with law’
under section 2 (12), where a child has committed a crime and has not attained
eighteen years of age and child in need of care and protection under section 2
(13). We are going to discuss the first category where a juvenile has committed
crime and what is the procedure laid by the legislature for them.
The law has laid down for the State to establish and constitute Juvenile Justice
Board to treat child in conflict with law in every district. This Board should
consists of a Judicial magistrate of first class or Metropolitan Magistrate and
will be designated as the Principle Magistrate accompanied with two social
workers, one of whom should be a woman. Such social workers appointed must have
been actively involved in social activities such as education, health and
welfare for a minimum period of seven years. The Board is constituted under
section 4 of the Act. The powers of the Juvenile Justice Board are provided
under section 8.
The child in conflict with law may be produced in front of a
member of the Board if the Board is not sitting. The Board may also act in
absence of some of the members and no order passed shall be term invalid due to
absence of some of its member. The final disposal of the case must be made in
front of at least two members of the Board along with the Principle Magistrate.
In absence of a majority opinion, the opinion of the Principle Magistrate shall
According to the Act, for the trial of juvenile in conflict with law a specific
course of action must be followed. A child when apprehended by police, is to be
handed over to the special police officer or the unit designated to keep the
child in custody. An immediate report is to be made and sent to the member of
the board. The Act allows the State Government to make rules consistent with the
Act in regards for persons or registered voluntary organization through which
the child is to be produced in front of the Board along with the manner in which
such child may be sent to an observation home or place of safety.
The Act has
provided a time limit for the inquiry, that is within a period of four months
from the date of first production of the child in front of the Board, though the
time limit is flexible and can be extended by the Board after citing the reason
in writing. If the offence committed by the child is of petty nature the board
through summary proceedings shall dispose the case as per the procedure
prescribed under the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973.
If the offence is of
heinous nature, committed by a child who has completed or is above the age of
sixteen years then the board shall conduct a preliminary assessment with regards
to the child mental and physical health to commit such crime and his ability to
understand the consequences of the offence.
When satisfied that the child had
the ability to commit such crime, the Board will pass an order for a trial of
the said child as an adult and may order to transfer this case to the Children’s
Bail is also obtainable under section 12 of the Act and under section 438 and
439 of Criminal Procedure Code, though the merit or nature has no relevancy. It
is interesting to note that the law has provided that no child in conflict with
law shall be sentenced to death or life imprisonment without the possibility of
release for any such offence. The law also prohibits joint trials with adults
where one party is child and the other is an adult. An appeal against both
conviction as well as acquittal of an adult offence can be made in any ordinary
Child found in conflict with law are dealt with according to the degree of the
crime committed. For lighter crimes, the delinquent may be released after
admonition, while more heinous crimes calls for the custody of the delinquent in
special schools. Some situations calls for probation by the parents of the
delinquent or any other person seem fit for it. Section 18 of the Juvenile
Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act 2015, lays down several orders
that can be passed by a Board for the delinquent child.
1. Where a Board is satisfied on inquiry that a child irrespective of age has
committed a petty offence, or a serious offence, or a child below the age of
sixteen years has committed a heinous offence, then, notwithstanding anything
contrary contained in any other law for the time being in force, and based on
the nature of offence, specific need for supervision or intervention,
circumstances as brought out in the social investigation report and past conduct
of the child, the Board may, if it so thinks fit:
- allow the child to go home after advice or admonition by following
appropriate inquiry and counselling to such child and to his parents or the
- direct the child to participate in group counselling and similar
- order the child to perform community service under the supervision of an organisation or institution, or a specified person, persons or group of persons
identified by the Board;
- order the child or parents or the guardian of the child to pay fine:
Provided that, in case the child is working, it may be ensured that the
provisions of any labor law for the time being in force are not violated;
- direct the child to be released on probation of good conduct and placed
under the care of any parent, guardian or fit person, on such parent,
guardian or fit person executing a bond, with or without surety, as the
Board may require, for the good behavior and child’s well-being for any
period not exceeding three years;
- direct the child to be released on probation of good conduct and placed
under the care and supervision of any fit facility for ensuring the good
behavior and child’s well-being for any period not exceeding three years;
- direct the child to be sent to a special home, for such period, not
exceeding three years, as it thinks fit, for providing reformative services
including education, skill development, counselling, behaviour modification
therapy, and psychiatric support during the period of stay in the special
home: Provided that if the conduct and behaviour of the child has been such
that, it would not be in the child’s interest, or in the interest of other
children housed in a special home, the Board may send such child to the
place of safety.
Section 24 of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act 2015
states that a juvenile who is in conflict with law and is dealt with under the
provisions of this Act, shall not be subjected to exclusion or disqualification
attaching to conviction of an offence committed by the juvenile under such law.
Within a period of seven years, all related records of conviction of juvenile
has to be eliminated under the directions of the Juvenile Justice Board.
section 21 of the same Act it is prohibited to disclose the identity of the
juvenile or any other relevant information such as name and address. The
proceedings are kept closed doors and are neither published or publicised, other
than the juvenile’s parents the general public is kept out. This is done to
prevent unnecessary embarrassment of the juvenile offender and to make sure that
the his conviction does not stain and smear his future life endeavours.
Jawaharlal Nehru once said “Children are like buds in a garden and should be
carefully and lovingly nurtured, as they are the future of the nation and
citizens of tomorrow”. According to the National Crime Records Bureau data from
2002 to 2012, there has been an increase of 143% in the number of rapes by
juveniles. It was also revealed that the figures of murder have gone up by 87%,
while at the same time there has been an alarming increase of 500% in the number
of kidnappings of women and girls by minors.
In India, children are exempted
from severe punishment for any wrong committed on their part, both civil and
criminal law have virtually exonerated a minor from adverse consequences and
liability of its actions. The goal is not to subject juveniles to harsh
punishment but to reform them as they are the future citizens of India and are a
valuable asset to our nation.
The United Nations emphasised upon the same humanitarian facet of juvenile
delinquency and expressed the view that “there is no trust more sacred than the
one the world holds with children. There is no duty more important than ensuring
that their rights are respected, that their welfare protected, that their lives
are free from fear and want and that they grow up in peace”. The rise in the
acute problem of juvenile delinquency during the 20th century drew United
Nation’s attention to provide some guiding principles for the juvenile justice
system. The United Nations Standard Minimum Rule for Administration of Juvenile
Justice 1985 (Beijing Rules) and the United Nations Guidelines for Prevention of
Juvenile Delinquency (Riyadh Guidelines) declared the fundamental rules which
should be applied to deal with the issue. The Beijing Rules was eventually
adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 29th November 1985.
The Beijing Rules incorporated a number fundamental principles:
- Firstly, all juvenile offenders should be provided with thoroughly
composed legal protections.
- Secondly, pre-trail detention should be avoided. No delinquents
should be jailed with adult criminals, where they could be subjected to
pernicious influence of adult offenders.
- Thirdly, no juvenile should be imprisoned unless they pose threat to
- Fourthly, all member states of the United Nations should provide basic
aid to juvenile delinquent by which every juvenile have the opportunity to
lead a meaningful and valuable life in the future.
India being a signatory to this convention had a legal and moral obligation to
enact the laws conforming to the international norms. In pursuance of this, it
enacted the Juvenile Justice Act 1986. It was later repealed and replaced by
Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act 2000, which was also
replaced by Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act 2015.
Despite these systematic efforts to tackle juvenile delinquency, it still
remains a menace worldwide. The problem is even consistent in developed
countries, being more severe in the United States compared to European
In the United States of America, each states has their own Juvenile Court, which
acts as a specialised unit in the State Judicial System. The working of a
Juvenile Court there is relatively simple and informal. The police at first
takes custody of the juvenile delinquent and it has lot of discretionary power
regarding the release and custody of the offender. The police contacts the
juvenile court and a person appointed by the court takes custody of the
Then the police interrogates the offender and takes his fingerprints
or photographs. After the trial, if he is released under probation, he is placed
under the care of probation officer who is responsible for finding a home,
school or employment for the delinquent. If he violates the conditions for
probation he is sent to Children Home by an order of the court. Sometimes waiver
of a juvenile leads to his trail by an adult court. The age limit to determine
juvenility varies from state to state. In most of the states the maximum age
limit is seventeen years.
While the minimum age varies, anyone above thirteen years can be tried as an
adult if he or she has a record of breaking the law or commits a serious crime.
Children between fifteen to sixteen years can also be tried as adults for
certain offences including murder, sexual assault, armed robbery with firearm.
Previously many juvenile offenders have been executed under capital punishment,
but in 2005 Supreme Court of the United States in Roper v. Simmons held it is
unconstitutional to impose capital punishment for crimes committed while under
the age of eighteen years.
In Graham v. Florida, the Supreme Court held that a state is not required
to guarantee individual freedom to a juvenile offender convicted of a
non-homicide crime.What states must do, however, is to give defendants some
meaningful opportunity to obtain release based on demonstration of maturity and
Unlike India, which deals with juvenile delinquency under the constriction of
the Indian Penal Code, the English Criminal Justice deals with such cases
outside the framework of the criminal law. Children between ten to eighteen
years are considered criminally responsible for their actions and a separate
youth court tries them. They may be tried as adults for a limited number of
serious offences such as child sex offences, sexual assault and prohibited
If the juvenile is jointly charged with an adult, both will be tried in the
adult court. They can also be tried in a crown court, if found to be necessary
in the interest of justice. If found guilty of murder, the juvenile offender
will be sentenced to detention at her majesty’s pleasure.
The Youth Criminal Justice Act provides for criminal justice to young persons
aged between twelve to eighteen years in Canada. Custody sentences are reserved
for violent and serious crimes but cannot exceed the maximum punishment that can
be awarded to adults for the same offence. This implies that for serious
offence, juveniles can be tried as adults. In Germany, children between fourteen
and eighteen years are tried in special youth courts.
It is considered that children in this age bracket understand the actions
committed and their consequences. A juvenile offender cannot be imprisoned for a
period more than ten years or less than six months, although exception lies if
the youth is considered a very dangerous criminal and a threat to public safety.
Then he can be imprisoned indefinitely.
Unlike the United States, France does not have the system of transfer of
juvenile delinquents to adult courts, but French Judges can award harsher
punishment depending on the severity of crime committed. Young offenders aged
sixteen to twenty-two in Netherlands can be tried as either adults or juveniles
under the adolescent criminal law.
In Norway, the Municipal Juvenile Welfare Committee deals with criminal cases of
young offenders between fourteen and eighteen years of age. Under the Child
Welfare Act 1953, a delinquent child is allowed to stay at home. The Child
Welfare Committee visits the youth’s home from time to time and ensures that the
delinquent stays away from crime. In recent years there has been a greater
emphasis on medico-psychological method of treatment of juveniles.
Written By: Shishank Shaw,
Jishnutosh Majumdar & Nilanjan Bose