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I’ve got thoughts of determination in the midst of hard times. Hard facts of life replace nursery rhymes in the hearts and minds of our city’s youth.”

- Jacob L. Zerkle


Children are our country's future, and it is everyone's obligation to guarantee that they live in a safe environment. However, juvenile criminality has become a disease in our society. In a growing country like India, the rate of juvenile crime has risen dramatically in the previous ten years. A child is born with innocence and grows positively if nourished with loving care and attention. Children's physical, psychological, social, and spiritual growth enable them to recognise their full potential.

'Nil Novi Spectrum,' a Latin phrase that best describes India's juvenile justice system, means "nothing new on this earth." There has been an expectation that juveniles should be treated leniently since the ancient period since there is a school of thought that states that young people have a tendency to respond with significant and prolonged irritation, which is followed by aggressive approaches. It has also been reported in recent years that the number of crimes perpetrated by children aged 15-16 has risen considerably. Early-life experiences, dominant masculinity, upbringing, economic chaos, lack of education, and so on are the general inclination or psychology behind the commission of crime or the causes of crime. Children aged 6 to 10 are increasingly being used as instruments for carrying out illegal or criminal activities, which is a source of shame. Because of the naive and manipulative character of children's minds, they can be enticed for a small fee.

This article deals with the study the juvenile justice systems of the India.


Who is a child?

A "child" is defined as a person under the age of 18 who is not mature enough to grasp what is right and wrong.

A "child" is defined as a person who has not reached the age of eighteen, according to sub-section 12 of Section 2 of The Juvenile (Care and Protection) Act, 2015. The term "child" is divided into two categories by the Act:

· child in conflict with law

· child in need of protection and care

Children Act, 1960: According to Section 2(e) of the Act, a "child" is defined as a boy or a girl under the age of eighteen years.

United Nations Convention: The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, adopted in 1989, defines "child" as an individual under the age of eighteen, unless the law declaration applicable to children, majority, is reached earlier.

The Act has been based on the concept of doli incapax’. This principle is enshrined in IPC Sections 82 and 83. According to this, a child under the age of seven "lacks the ability to understand the nature and effect of his act," and hence lacks the necessary mens rea. Only children aged 7 to 12 years old can be convicted if the conduct they performed is a severe crime and they have knowledge of and have achieved sufficient knowledge of the consequences of their act. The Indian juvenile justice system is based on Articles 15(3), 39(e) and (f), 45, and 47 of the Constitution, as well as other IN covenants such as the UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Administration of Juvenile Justice (Beijing Rules) and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC). COI provides separate therapy for children and women.

In 1974, when the rising rate of juvenile delinquency became a problem in India, the government passed a National Policy Resolution. This resolution established standards and priorities for organising deviant-behavior-related programmes for youngsters.

Some guidelines were as follows:

· All children must be covered by a comprehensive health programme.

· Nutritional services for children's diets will be provided through programmes.

· All children under the age of 14 are entitled to free and compulsory education from the state.

· Physical education, games, sports, as well as cultural and scientific activities, must be promoted in schools, community centres, and other places.

· Children must be protected from abuse, neglect, and exploitation.

· In times of crisis or natural tragedy, children must be prioritised for protection and relief.

Article 39(f) of the Indian Constitution's Directive Principles of State Policies further states that the state shall "direct its policy making sure that infancy and youth are protected against exploitation and moral and material abandonment”.

Further, the Indian state promulgated the Juvenile Justice Act in 1986. The Act bought a uniform juvenile justice system in India. The Act consisted of sixty-three sections and seven chapters. [1]The Juvenile Justice Act is based on the concepts of parens patriae and mens rea. Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) was established in 2000 as a result of the 1986 Act. The basic aim of this Act was to include provisions for care and protection. Later, the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act of 2015 was enacted to replace the Act. The Nirbhaya rape case, in which the accused was over 16, inspired the 2015 Act. As a result of the 2015 Act, children aged 16 to 18 who are accused of criminal offences will be tried in a regular court.

Dr Subramanian Swamy And Ors v. Raju Thr. Member Juvenile Justice[2]

A landmark case that resulted in numerous advances and adjustments in India's juvenile justice system. Swamy, one of the petitioners, had argued that because of the seriousness of the Nirbhaya rape case, the fifth accused, a juvenile, should not be prosecuted under the JJ Act.

He had also maintained that such horrible crimes were not appropriate for juvenile justice. As a result, he was ineligible for any of the advantages provided by the JJ Act. The petition was dismissed by the Supreme Court, which stated that the goal of treating a person under the age of 18 as a juvenile is to ensure their rehabilitation and transformation into better citizens of the country.

Gopinath Ghosh v. State of West Bengal [3]

It is yet another case in which respondent Gopinath was found guilty under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code. The offender was under the age of 18 on the day he committed the crime, according to the Supreme Court. As a result, the appellant was classified as a "child" under the "West Bengal Children Act 1959," and the Court lacked jurisdiction to hear the issue. As a result, the matter was heard in Supreme Court once more. The Court demanded that the respondent's age be determined, and it was determined that Gopinath was under the age of 18, and the Magistrate was ordered to proceed in accordance with the West Bengal Children's Act 1959.


Despite the development of comprehensive child-beneficial strategies, their execution is lacking. Appropriate training is lacking; there is a squabble over delinquents' bail, major accountability concerns, and general apathy. In the Observation Homes, there have been extraordinary incidences of police brutality and abuse, as well as ineptitude and delay on the part of probation staff.

Model Rules 2007 were drafted as an appendix to the Act, and an Integrated Child Protection Scheme was created in an attempt to assure enforcement. A light of hope glimmers in the form of the Protection of Minors from Sexual Offences Bill 2011, which aims to rein in the media by barring comments about children, whether accused or victims of an offence, that may degrade their character or infringe on their privacy. It is past time for social workers to simultaneously play the roles of friend, adviser, reformer, and healer, and for NGOs to step up to seek custody of minors pending or upon completion of an investigation.


Juvenile criminality is expanding at an alarming rate, which is a major problem for our society. There have been several reports of youth delinquency from across the country. A crime committed by a minor under the age of 18 is referred to as juvenile delinquency. Although the government has enacted a number of measures in an attempt to minimise teenage delinquency, these are insufficient. Current laws have failed to create a deterrent effect in the minds of children, resulting in unproductive outcomes.

[1] Maram Deepika, Functioning of Juvenile Justice Systems in India, US and UK: Explained, Lawctopus, (October 12, 2021), [2] Dr. Subramanian Swamy And Ors v. Raju Thr. Member Juvenile Justice, AIR 2014 SC 1649. [3] Gopinath Ghosh v. State of West Bengal, AIR 1984 SC 237.


Maram Deepika, Functioning of Juvenile Justice Systems in India, US and UK: Explained, Lawctopus, (October 12, 2021),

· Dr. Subramanian Swamy And Ors v. Raju Thr. Member Juvenile Justice, AIR 2014 SC 1649.

Gopinath Ghosh v. State of West Bengal, AIR 1984 SC 237.

This article is written by Shivani Kharai of CMR University, School of Legal Studies.

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