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Juvenile Justice- By Kashish Wadhwa

Updated: May 22

Introduction

The juvenile justice system in India arose with the emergence of British rule in India. The event was treated as a family in India, and Western philosophy generated the emergence of a juvenile system. At this time both the perpetrator and the juvenile were treated the same way, and there were cases of their hanging and whipping. After gaining independence in 1947, India signed the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights and adopted various measures to remedy events. The term juvenile justice systems deal with the criminal branch of law. In this system, youth who have committed crimes and who are below the trial age of 18 years for their criminal acts are dealt with. The literal meaning of events is a young person with child characteristics. The term justice means fair and equitable treatment of the affected person. The main reason why children are treated differently is because young children need a different kind of treatment environment to develop a positive personality. It is a legal procedure to deal with delinquent juveniles.

All most all the countries of the world have a Juvenile Justice System of their own. In India, for a person to be a Juvenile is when he is under the age of 18. The cases relating to juvenile justice are done in Juvenile Justice Courts, which is usually a children's' friendly court. The rehabilitative approach is taken when any case involves any juvenile so there are self-care and special institutions for them.

All countries follow a different approach for taking care of juveniles however the common ground that they stand on is by following certain standards that are given to the countries by the United Nations.

A lot of international instruments have been signed by the countries to ensure the rights of children are protected :

1. United Nations Standard Rules for Administrating Juvenile Justice

2. United Nations on Prevention of Juvenile Delinquency

3. United Nations rules for Protection of Liberty of juvenile

4. United Nations Vienna Guidelines on Actions on Children in the Juvenile system

However, a lot of changes were made in the Juvenile Justice Act after the Nirbhaya Incident took place in the national capital of the country. One of the accused in the incident was a juvenile and people were not happy with the court decisions and wanted the death penalty for him as he was the heinous offender. After a lot of debates and discussions in parliament, there was a new law regarding the Juvenile ( Juvenile Justice Care and Protection of Children's Act, 2015). The act repeals the older act ie. Juvenile Justice Act of 2000. The act fulfilled all the criteria and did not violate any fundamental rights of the child and also provided stricter punishment for commission for crimes like murder and rapes. Offenders should be punished in the same way as the adults would have been punished because if a child had the audacity to commit a crime of such nature he must also be aware of the consequences it shall be facing. The new bill that's been passed by the parliament states that all the juveniles that are in the age group of 16-18 and have committed a heinous offence shall be tried as adults. This was an important approach for the socio-legal atmosphere of the country.

Present Juvenile Systems in India

Keeping in mind the rehabilitative approach Indian laws are made not to punish the offender but to give him a chance to change and come out as a worthful member of the society thus the system of Juvenile Justice in India stands on 3 pillars :

1. The young offenders should not be tried in a court instead should be reformed in every best way possible

2. They should not be punished with harsh and strict provisions

3. Any child who is in conflict with law should receive non-penal treatment and should be sent to observation or special homes

Case laws

1. KulaiIbrahim V State of Coimbatore (AIR 2014 SC 2726)

In this case, the court held that a person who is accused can claim his right to raise the question of Juvenility at any time in a case or even after when the case has ended by the virtue of Section 9 of Juvenile Justice Act 2015​​

2. Arnit Das V State of Bihar (AIR 2000 SC 748 )

In this case the Supreme Court quashed its previous judgment and held that to decide juvenility, it should be the date when accused is brought before the court

3. Satbir Singh V State of Haryana ( AIR 2005 SC 3549)

In this case the Supreme court took in consideration that if juvenility of a person is in question then the birth date on school records of accused are taken into consideration

Juvenile Justice Board

Juvenile Justice Board is a constitutional mechanism that hears and inquired in the matter where juveniles are in conflict with the law.

The board shall have the principal Magistrate and 2 social workers of which one should be a woman. Any decision taken by the Principal Magistrate is final.

The procedure for trial under JJB is as follows :

1. The proceedings cant start on a complaint that has been registered by police or citizen

2. Hearing should be confidential and informal

3. After detention, the offenders should be sent to observation homes and not to jails

4. The trial to be conducted by a lady Magistrate

Conclusion

The rate of crimes by Juveniles are at a very alarming rate and is an issue that needs the attention and should be focused upon. Although several legislations have been made by the government to control these crimes there is no deterrence and thus no fruitful results can be seen and the intent of putting a stop to such crimes can not be accomplished.

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