Juvenile Justice System In India
Juvenile Justice System is the most progressive and enlightened system
adopted by the world citizenry with all round growth of children. The prime
focus is to reform the deviants and provide care to the unprotected child. As
far as practicable, a child to be rehabilitated and restored to the family. The
special court to adopt the doctrine of parens patriae while adjudicating the
matter of child in conflict with the law. The article evaluated the JJS in India
in the light of constitutional philosophy and International parameters.
Understanding the present state of the Juvenile Justice System (JJS) in India
requires recourse to history. The JJS in India originated during British rule.
Before the British regime in India, Juveniles were treated by the family and
society in general.
Gone are those stormy days when the problems of Juvenile were not considered as
a separate system. It can be witnessed from the past that the children were
thrown into prison without trial. They were locked in the jail along with
hardened criminals. In the nineteenth century penologists prescribed equal
punishment for both adults and Juveniles. History reveals that juveniles were
hanged, transported and imprisoned like adult criminals.
Gradually the problem of youth offenders was given separate treatment .The
constitution of India provided separate treatment for the children and women.
The assumption that is reported in the social milieu is undertaken to make a
strong JJS in India. In this article an attempt is made to analyze the special
treatment adopted by India for Juveniles in the light of its constitutional
philosophy and the international conventions.
Meaning And Concept
The etymological term ‘Juvenile’ means young person or any young person
retaining the nature and characteristics of a child. The term Delinquency
connotes ‘failure to observe norms of society or omission of duty, involving
crime or doing any wrong. The term Justice means concern for justice,
fairness, equitableness or a concern for peace and genuine respect for
people. It is a principle of moral rightness in the pursuit of fair treatment
against unfair behavior. Juvenile Justice System is a system coming within the
area of criminal law administration of justice. This is a system adopted for the
young person not old enough to be held responsible for criminal acts.
Juvenile delinquency is the doing of some act against society by young
persons. The term Juvenile Justice means what is just, fair and equitable
to the child or young persons in shaping their personality in the society.
‘Juvenile Justice System’ means a process to deal with the problem concerned
with children and society. The main purpose of JJS is to insulate children by
resorting to appropriate treatment and create an environment to develop a
positive human personality. JJS is a socio-legal measure to create an atmosphere
for the treatment of delinquent juveniles.
Almost all countries of the civilized world have adopted Juvenile Justice Law to
treat the young offender in the most equitable manner, so that they can lead a
peaceful moral and democratic life. JJS applicable to the persons; those are
under 18 years of age. Juvenile Justice is administered through Juvenile court,
a court which is child friendly in nature. The main goal of this System is to
adopt rehabilitative measures rather than punitive measures. If a child commits
or any wrong young person turns delinquent, the Juvenile court takes measures
for foster care and soft treatment through special institutions. So that
Juvenile offenders can find a path to lead a decent life.
Aftermath of Nirbhaya CaseToday (After Nirbhaya case) many people are aware that a separate Justice System
exists for Juveniles. Many people are not yet aware how JJS works. After the
incident of Nirbhaya people turned sentimental and expressed their hostile
attitude towards the decision of the court. They demanded a death sentence for
the child involved in the Nirbhaya case.
There was roaring in parliament and the new law (Juvenile Justice Care and
protection of children 2015) came into existence in India. It is a comprehensive
provision for children alleged and found to be in conflict with the law. It also
deals with children in need of care and protection. This law is enacted taking
into consideration conventions of Rights of the child and other related
international instruments.The government of India acceded the convention of
Rights of the Child (CRC) on 11 Dec.1992.
According to the international treaties and constitutional parameters, it is the
responsibility of the state to treat the children with all softness and for the
best interest of the child. However, there is a strong public demand for harsher
punishment for youths who commit adult crime i.e. serious crimes like murder,
rape, robbery, dacoit etc. Such youths should be punished like adults.
Of course, there is inflammatory rhetoric about youth crimes and there is
increased public cynicism about the present JJS. Since the adoption of our
constitution a lot of efforts were made to understand the philosophy of the JJS
and accordingly various laws were enacted. But all the efforts are half-hearted
and need serious consideration. The stakeholders of the Juvenile Justice
Administration must take note of the serious conditions that prevail in our JJS.
Intellectuals criticize poorly conceived policies and squandering huge precious
Development of juvenile justice systemThe Juvenile Justice System developed throughout the world with a conception
that children are not mature like adults. They failed to understand the nature
and consequence of their acts. This idea is based on the legal ‘principle of
doli incapax’ i.e. children do not have capacity to form criminal intentions.
Therefore, a child cannot be made liable for acts which are illegal. An adult is
commonly understood to mean a person who has reached maturity of mind. In
psychological perception, a person is mature ‘who possesses certain skills that
are the product of both cognitive development and the nature of the person’s
interactions with his or her environment.
The development of the child’s cognitive abilities is, to some extent,
influenced by the child's environment. The child is able to understand and
interpret the world differently because of his or her ability to engage in more
abstract thought. It is to be noted that there is no general consensus about the
definition of youth and child. Different statutes have different mandates in the
matter of age or attaining adulthood. There is policy shift in the new Juvenile
It is a very progressive Act, designed to adopt the philosophy of parens patriae
and prescribe institutionalized care and protection. The only shift witnessed is
to punishing delinquents involved in case serious offence. JJS is adopting
policy for the reformation and socialization of the young person and punishment
is an exception. JJS is essentially different from ordinary criminal courts,
adopting informal hearing.
Substantive amendments were made to the existing juvenile Justice act of 2015 on
July 28. Rajya Sabha passed the Juvenile Justice Care and Protection of Children
Amendment Bill 2021. It was passed with an overwhelming majority by Lok Sabha
during the budget session of 2021. Surprisingly, this bill received support from
the opposition as well as the ruling party. After receiving assent from the
President, the new amendment bill will come into force.
The Juvenile Justice System is based on the principle of social welfare and
rights of the child. The prime focus of the JJS is reformation and
rehabilitation. It is to create opportunities for the child to develop his
personality. The goal after all, is to proceed ahead to create an egalitarian
society of high order. Children are the future resources of the country.
They must be transformed from negative to positive personalities. However,
looking to the past experience, we have to bridge the wide gap between theory
and practice. In this process, we have to build a good infrastructure and
efficient Juvenile Justice Administration. The new legislation carries the
dreams, we need to make the dream reality.
Written By: Divyansh Jasoria
Law Article in India
You May Like
Legal Question & Answers