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Juvenile Justice

Children Need love When they do not deserve it.

A child is born innocent but due to not getting proper care and guidance and also for the negative social and environmental factors his mind diverge towards criminal tendency.

We know that all children are wealth and assets of a nation's future and a healthy environment should be provided to them so that they can become a civilized citizen of a country. It is the responsibility of the government and the society along with his parents to look that the child becomes physically fit, socially active and mentally conscious equipped with skills and do something productive for the country rather than becoming a criminal.

The children who are involved in criminal or in any illegal activity for them the Government must correct and reform them rather than giving punishment , for this every country have there own juvenile justice act. Juvenile is considered as a child who has not completed a specific age mentioned in law of the country and under that age he cannot be treated as an adult. Different country have different age limit for juvenile.

History of Juvenile Justice

Before Nineteenth century children were considered as young adults and were tried as an adult in court, children over the age of seven years accused of crimes were sent to adult jail, but instead of reforming they learn more about crimes. So for that reason many states started creating reform schools and work farms for the children . After that in 1899 U. S made legal history by creating first juvenile court in Chicago because they recognized that children's are not as mature as adults and as they can be reformed into good human being.

Then on 1985 came the United Nations standard minimum rule for administration of juvenile justice which states the definition of juvenile that a young person who is under the respective legal system to be dealt with any offences, it also states that the age of criminal responsibility of a juvenile must be determined on the basic of the mental , emotional and intellectual integrity of the child and the most important part was that juvenile must be kept separated from adult.

Then from 1990s many countries adopted the system of juvenile justice. On 1989 came the UN convention on the right of the child, which gave four sets of civil, political, cultural, social and economical right to every child. Then criticism came about children's court that the trial of a juvenile is done without lawyer, the juvenile is not aware of there crime, In the case of 1996 Kent V. United States the Supreme Court decided that juvenile has right to know there crime and have a proper council. Then on 20th century Supreme Court brought more procedural formality in the juvenile court system.

Juvenile Delinquency

Delinquency is a action, omission, or moral behavior of juvenile which is not permitted in the society , and when a child perform such behavior then he is considered to be delinquent. The word delinquency has its origin from Latin word means that to leave or to abandon. It means children who are neglected by the society or by their parents for which they involve in harmful and illegal activities. When a child does any crime then it falls under the category of juvenile delinquency.

The juvenile delinquency is a behavioral disorder which is generally defined as a child trying or pretending to grow up and act like an adult. There are many interpretation of the term Delinquent but the by Clyde. B. Yedder it was most well defined he said that Juvenile delinquency refers to anti - social acts of children or of young people under age.

Acts of delinquency by a juvenile may be running away from home ,using vulgar languages, committing several offences, doing illegal work, stealing habituated to drugs and etc other unsocial behavior.

Due to this juvenile delinquency the concept of Juvenile Justice came and recently it became an important part of criminology. The main aim of Juvenile Delinquency is to safe guard the right of the children and provide them care and protection also to treat neglected and delinquent child and give them a chance to be useful citizen of the society. In the recent years the juvenile delinquency is increasing , according to the census bureau in 2008 there were 1,653,000 cases in United States which was 23.6 % more than the cases of 1990.

So to reduce Juvenile Delinquency every country have there own Juvenile Justice act but all these acts are based on three models:
  • The due procedural model
  • The social welfare model
  • The participatory process model

In many countries there is a minimum age of a child above which he/she is considered to be liable for performing any crime:
  • In England and Whales for several offences children above the age of 10 years are held criminally liable.
  • In Australia a child above the age of 14 years are held responsible for any criminal activity.
  • In U. S. A the minimum age for child to be held criminally responsible is 12 years
  • In New York and Texas the age is 17 year, etc.

Juvenile Justice System In India

In India before 1960 there was no consistency regarding the age limit of juvenile delinquent, every state had there own Children Act in which age limit of a child was different, In Bombay Children Act 1948 child means a boy not completed the age of 16 year and a girl not completed the age of 18 year like that in U.P Children Act a person under the age of 16 was a Child, then on 1959 India became the signatory of the UN declaration on rights of child and on 1960 India passed the Children Act 1960 which was applicable to whole India including Union Territory except Jammu and Kashmir according to this Act any person not completed the age of 14 years is a child.

But then due to the Standard Minimum Rules for the Administration of Juvenile Justice adopted by U. N countries in November 1985, India have to repeal the Children Act 1960 and bring a new act Juvenile Justice Act 1986.

According to this act a child or juvenile was defined that a girl who not attain the age of 18 years and a boy not attain a age of 16 years. Then on 20th November 1989 the United Nations adopted a convention on right of child and this convention define that Child means a human being below the age of eighteen years.

This forced the Indian legislation to revoke Juvenile Justice Act 1986 by the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection Act) 2000. In this the age of Juvenile for both male and female been fixed at 18 years. According to this maximum punishment can be given to a Juvenile is of 3 years but for those three years he will not be in regular jail but in a reform home, where he can be retreated to be a responsible citizen of the country.

But Things changed due to the rise of Juvenile Delinquency in India , children were influenced by the western world and for there care free attitude.
Participation in illegal activities of minors increased,
There was 30% rise in crimes by juvenile in the period of 2012-14,
According to National Crime Record Bureau (NCRB) the crime of juvenile increased by proportion from 1% to 1.2% from 2003-13,
70% of the juvenile accused of crimes were between the age of 16 to 18 years, and
The most important case (Nirbhaya Delhi Gang Rape) case of 2012 where there was a involvement of an accused who was 6 months short to attain the age of 18 years.

These all incidents forced the Legislature to replace the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection) Act of 2000 with new Juvenile Justice Act of 2015 and said due to increase of heinous crimes by Juvenile and to safeguard the right of the victim from the crimes like rape and murder it is hard to believe that the juvenile was not aware about the consequences.

According to this Act a Child means a person not attain the age of 18 years but this law adopted the principal of doli incapex �which means that a minimum age is needed for a child to be capable to do crime, according to this law in India 7 years is considered to be incapable for committing crime, between the age of 7 to 12 there is a presumption that innocence is given in favor of the child but but if it is proved with evidence that the crime was committed by that child then he can be prosecuted and according to this new bill children from 16 to 18 if liable for any heinous crime then that child can be tried as an adult after a general test that he/she has done the crime with his own knowledge and with adequate understanding about the crime and it's consequences.

This act define Child into two categories:

  • child in conflict with law - section-13
  • child in need of care and protection - section - 14

The children who falls under the category of '' Children in Conflict with Law ''for them the competent authority is the Juvenile Justice Board, and the children who comes under the category of '' Child in need of Care and Protection '' for them the competent authority is Child Welfare Committee.

This law also talks about three categories of offences by juvenile:

  • Heinous Offences
  • Serious Offences
  • Pretty Offences
Each category of offences has different punishment but a juvenile cannot be given death penalty and cannot be given life impriosement without the possibility of release.

Trial Process that how the Juvenile will be determined as an adult

When a juvenile of 16 to 18 years age perform any heinous crime, then the Juvenile Justice Board perform an inquiry, to determine the Mental and physical capacity to commit a crime and to understand it's consequences.

After that inquiry three types of order may be recommended by JJB:

  • The juvenile can be sent for counselling or community service,
  • The juvenile can be sent to a observation home for temporary or for a long period,
  • The juvenile may be referred to Children's Court to determine that whether to try the juvenile as adult or not.

This Children's Court is a Sessions court notified under the Commission for Protection of Child Rights Act, 2005, this court determine that whether the juvenile will be tried as an adult or will sent to observation home for counselling. So it's not that every juvenile will be tried as an adult it's decided through this process of trial .

According to my view when a child perform any crime their mental state is different that from an adult, so they must be taken proper care. Children have flexible mindset the Government and the Society should always take care of them with love and generosity and remove the criminal mindset and bring them back into normal life and also provide them with all the necessary things that they need to grow up into a responsible person of the society.

Though every country have Juvenile Justice Act and they had also amended it to make it modern and more particular but they must properly exercise it, the society must also support the Government to reduce juvenile crimes . The juvenile crimes are increasing which need to be focused and the Government must also look after the factors for which juvenile crimes are increasing and try to resolve it.

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