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“If you want real peace in the world, start with the children.” – Mahatma Gandhi.


A kid is born innocent, but because of inadequate care and instruction, as well as unfavourable societal and environmental influences, his mind may begin to lean toward criminal behaviour.

All children are assets for the future of a country, and it is important to give them a healthy environment so they may grow up to be responsible members of society. The government, society, and the kid’s parents have a duty to make sure the youngster develops into a physically healthy, socially engaged, and psychologically aware person with the abilities to contribute to society rather than becoming a criminal.

There is a need for particular protection and care since the future of the nation depends on their correct care, and if they are prosecuted and punished like adults at such a young age, there is a chance that they may develop into seasoned criminals.

Juvenile Delinquency

Delinquency is an unwanted behaviour on a child’s part that is socially unacceptable in society. A disease known as juvenile delinquency is described as “a youngster acting like an adult.” Although the child’s behaviour may appear to be quite silly, there is real cause for concern. According to popular belief, a child’s behaviour is only considered delinquent when it is damaging. In his book “Law of Juvenile Delinquency,” Frederick B. Sussmann provided a list of behaviours that constituted delinquency, including “violation of any law or ordinance, habitual absenteeism, alliance with thieves, cruel or immoral characters, and going beyond the power of parent or guardian.”

Causes of Juvenile Delinquency

Adolescence Instability:

Teenagers’ behaviour patterns are influenced by a variety of elements, including biological, psychological, and societal ones. Teenagers start to become more self-conscious about things like their enjoyment, diet, play, and clothes at this age. And at this age, adolescents seek independence and freedom. However, when their parents, teachers, and elders provide them opportunity to do so, it might result in the development of antisocial behaviour in them. Biological changes, psychological factors, and antisocial behaviour are therefore some of the causes of adolescent delinquency.

Disintegration of Family System:

The major causes of rising adolescent delinquency rates are also the breakdown of the family system and weak parental supervision. The main causes of adolescent delinquency are often parental divorce, loss of parental supervision, lack of love and affection, and lack of parental love.

Economic condition and Poverty:

Because of the failure of parents or guardians to meet their children’s needs and the children’s desire for their desires to be satisfied by their parents by any means necessary, poverty and poor economic conditions are also considered to be major contributing factors to the rise in juvenile crimes. Once children’s desires are satisfied, they begin to steal money from homes or other parents after their needs have been met. And as a result, stealing becomes a habit, which leads to widespread thievery.


Juvenile males who are abandoned and penniless move to slum regions where they come into touch with antisocial members of society who engage in illicit activities like prostitution, drug smuggling, etc. The juveniles are really drawn to these activities, and they could participate in them.

Sex Indulgence:

Children who have been the victims of sexual assault or any other type of unwanted physical attack throughout their early years may grow to be unpleasant in both their conduct and thought processes. At this age, individuals can start living on the streets more frequently or desire to have sex. Too much sexual variation may encourage guys to commit crimes like abduction and rapes, among others.

Modern Lifestyle:

It is quite challenging for children and teenagers to adapt to the new lifestyles due to the social norms and current living styles that are changing so quickly. They experience issues with cultural tensions and lack the ability to distinguish between good and wrong.

History of Juvenile justice system in India

Before 1960, there was no uniformity in India regarding the minimum age for juvenile delinquency; each state had its own Children Act, which set a distinct minimum age for children. In the Bombay Children Act of 1948, a child is defined as a boy or girl who has not reached the age of 16 or 18, like how the U.P. Children Act defined a kid as someone under the age of 16.

Then, in 1959, India ratified the UN Declaration on the Rights of the Child, and in 1960, it approved the Children Act, which was applicable to all of India, including Union Territory, with the exception of Jammu and Kashmir. Under this Act, anybody under the age of 14 is considered a child.

However, India was forced to abolish the Children Act 1960 and introduce the Juvenile Justice Act 1986 as a result of the Standard Minimum Rules for the Administration of Juvenile Justice agreed by U. N. nations in November 1985.

This act defined a kid or juvenile as a female who has not reached the age of 18 and a guy who has not reached the age of 16.

Juvenile Justice Act 1986 must be repealed by the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection Act) 2000 as a result of this.

Juvenile Justice Act, 2000

The Act’s goal and intention when it was passed in 2000 was to safeguard children. The above was changed twice, first in the year 2006 and then again in the year 2011. The modification was designed to close the implementation’s gaps and flaws.

Furthermore, the alarming incidence of the Delhi Gang Rape Case and the rise in juvenile criminal cases in recent years have compelled politicians to pass legislation. The Act’s main flaw was that it had inadequate legal safeguards, and India’s broken juvenile justice system was a key factor in keeping kids out of trouble. The Juvenile Justice(Care and Protection) Act, 2015 quickly took the place of the previous law.

Juvenile Justice Act, 2015

The Juvenile Judicial act of 2000 was superseded with the Juvenile Justice act of 2015 because a more powerful and efficient justice system that prioritized both deterrence and reformative measures was required. There were arguments made in the Parliament that the juveniles should be allowed greater room for transformation, reformation, or betterment and that is only feasible when there is an unique judicial system. Juveniles should be treated differently from adults in terms of attitude.

Therefore, the Juvenile Justice (care and Protection of Children) Statute, 2015, which was the new act, centered on an approach to adjudication and resolution of cases that was favorable to juveniles.

Some of the key characteristics include:

A child is defined as a person who hasn’t reached the age of 18, or who is younger than 18, under Section 2 (12) of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015. The

Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015’s Section 2 (13) that addresses children in legal dispute and the Child in Need of Care and Protection categories have been established by the Act.

  • The many aspects of crimes were clearly distinguished, leading to the creation of classifications designating the crimes as heinous, severe, and minor.
  • If a juvenile between the ages of 16 and 18 commits a crime, certain guidelines have been established that allow for an adult trial following a thorough examination of their mental competence.
  • The establishment of juvenile courts, which meant that distinct courts were to be created that would solely hear juvenile offenses, such as the NDPS courts, courts handling POCSO, etc.
  • The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015, expanded the concept of “Child in Need of Care and Protection” by taking into account the following factors, among the many others listed in Section 2 (14) of the Act:
    • Those whose parents or guardians are/were unable of caring for the youngster.
    • Those who are or have been caught undertaking illegal labour-related work.
    • Those who face the impending prospect of getting married before reaching the required legal age.
    • The Act by which the rights of an adopted child are recognized also defines what adoption means.

Landmark Judgements

The Supreme Court ruled in Sanjay Suri v. Delhi Administration that juvenile detainees who were awaiting trial should be freed. The court’s ruling made clear that the juvenile’s age cannot be accepted by the jail staff unless it is expressly stated in the paperwork justifying their custody.

In Jayendra v. State of Uttar Pradesh, the Supreme Court heard a case in which the High Court’s decision to sentence a youngster to prison for committing a crime was contested. The Supreme Court requested a report from the jail’s medical director to ascertain the child’s age. It was discovered that the youngster was 16 years and 4 months old when the offence was committed, and the prison sentence was overturned as a result.

The Supreme Court upheld Jayendra v. State of UP’s ruling in Bhoop Ram v. State of UP, finding that a person’s age can be ascertained from the time of the conduct of an offence.

In Arnit Das v. State of Bihar, the court reversed the ruling made in Raj Singh v. State of Haryana, holding that the age of a boy or girl must be determined at the time of the commission of an offence. In this case, R.C. Lahoti, J. points out that neither the definition of juvenile nor any other provision in the Act specifically states the date by which the age of a boy or a girl must be determined.

In this case, the Supreme Court ruled that the boy’s or girl’s age must be established at the time they are brought before the appropriate authority. The apex court identified the issue that many

children have been detained in adult prisons because they lack documentation proving their age, which is the basis for this ruling.

Issue with the current juvenile system.

Justice Verma Committee Report on Juvenile Justice Laws in India

The Juvenile Justice Act, according to the Justice Verma Committee report on “Amendments to Criminal Law,” “has failed terribly to safeguard the youngsters in the country[52],” Before ensuring that a kid has the fundamental rights guaranteed to them by the Indian Constitution, we cannot hold that youngster accountable for a crime. The research took a close look at the children’s homes and discovered that they lacked the most basic infrastructure needs, forcing the kids to grow up in unhealthy environments where they are vulnerable to “sexual crimes.” The fundamental constitutional rights that children are guaranteed by the Indian Constitution cannot be provided through juvenile facilities. Because of their inadequate dietary, emotional, and mental needs, individuals frequently cannot function normally and make contributions to society.

Recommendations for the betterment of juvenile system

  • Instead of taking a punitive approach to child delinquency, the court should take a reformative one. In order to reintegrate the criminal element of society, the state should work to create this environment.
  • The State shouldn’t be given too much authority to create laws pertaining to the Juvenile Justice Act; instead, the International Conventions and CrPc should be given more authority in order to achieve the goals of the JJA.
  • Given the significance of the Juvenile Justice Board, including the Magistrate, a special training program in child psychology should be offered.
  • In orderr to complete the investigation within four months, the Magistrate should not be involved in any other cases besides those involving minors.
  • Homes for Children are designed to house both “children in conflict with the law” and “children in need of care and affection.” It’s crucial to distinguish between the homes for the two groups of kids—not just on paper, but also physically.
  • To make it easier for the board’s inspection process and surprise visits, children’s homes should be under CCTV surveillance.


Since children’s mental states differ from adults’ when they commit crimes, special care must be given to them. Children have a flexible mindset, so society and the government should always treat them with love and generosity, get rid of their criminal mindsets, reassert normalcy in their lives, and give them everything they need to develop into contributing members of society.

Additionally, as evidenced by the data, which was taken from the National Crime Records Bureau Report, 2015, the majority of juvenile offenders were found to be between the ages of 16 and 18.

It is not a solution to lower the age of juvenile offenders from 18 to 16 as stated in the Juvenile Justice (Care & Protection) Act, 2015. It is commendable that the Indian Legislature made an effort to uphold its obligations under the Convention; however, the government should work to properly implement the Act, adhere to the reformatory model, and attempt to find skilled employment for minors so that they can go on to live peaceful lives.



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