WHO IS A JUVENILE DELINQUENT?
A minor who cannot be controlled by parental authority and commits antisocial or criminal acts, as vandalism or violence. Or a child or youth characterized by juvenile delinquency.
Representative image ; Source - The New York Times
WHAT MAKE A JUVENILE DIFFERENT FROM A MINOR?
In general sense both the term has same meaning but however difference lies in context of implications in the eyes of law. Minor implies young and teen persons whereas juvenile either indicates immature person or young offenders.
Juvenile Delinquency means a crime committed by youth who is under the age of 18 years. Juvenile Justice is a legal framework which describes justice for juvenile under the Indian Legal System. The system is giving a special treatment and protection to juvenile delinquency. At present, there is a hike in rate of juvenile crimes and this increasing rate is creating a burning issue.
To resolve the issues around juvenile delinquency different laws have been passed over time and time again. The most recent one is - The Juvenile Justice (care and protection of children) Act, 2015.
According to the Act, the maximum tenure of punishment which can be given to the juvenile offenders is three years and this punishment is valid for heinous crime also. In case of an adult offender, the maximum punishment which can be given is 7 years or life imprisonment or death penalty.
The Act, in case of juvenile offenders believe on Reformation of juvenile as much as possible. The reformation type of punishment under the Act includes: – Sending juvenile to Rehabilitation Centers or Juvenile Schools.
But, adoption of reformative theory of punishment by law, is giving an undue advantage to juvenile to perpetuate their ability to commit crime without facing any harsh consequences. Reformation is good but not always.
CHANGES BROUGHT IN JUVENILE JUSTICE ACT IN THE WAKE OF RECENT DEVELOPMENTS -
The frightful Nirbhaya Case of December 2012, in Delhi, brought the whole nation under shock and there was a dire need to change the then existing juvenile laws as one of the convicts of was a juvenile during the time of commission of the crime and he was considered to be the one with being most heinous with regard to the crime.
It was on December 2015, that the Rajya Sabha finally passed the juvenile justice bill.
The new law permits juveniles between the age of 16-18 years to be tried as adults if they are accused of committing an offence of heinous nature. That group of 16-18 years will be further examined by the juvenile justice board and this is done in order to know if the crime was committed by that person as an adult or a child.
RIGHTS PROVIDED TO THE YOUNG OFFENDERS
The Indian Constitution provides Directive Principles of State Policy (DPSP) - provided mainly to ensure the smooth functioning of the society. And regarding the rights and welfare of the children following has been provided by the constitution: