Juvenile Justice System:

 

Introduction:

  • Juvenile justice is the legal system that aspires to protect all children, bringing within its ambit the children in need of care and protection and children in conflict with law. However, the word has come to be used together and often interchangeably with ‘delinquency’ – which describes children who are in conflict with law, conjuring an image of violence.

 

  • Issues related to Juvenile Justice System in India :

 

    • Increase in reported incidents of abuse of children in institutions, families and communities
    • Inadequate facilities, quality of care and rehabilitation measures in home.
    • Delays in various processes under the Act, such as decisions by Child Welfare Committees and Juvenile Justice Boards leading to pendency of cases
    • Delay in adoption process
    • Inadequate provisions to deal with offences against children
    • Provisions related to juveniles in conflict with law in age group of 16-18 years

 

  • Suggestions:

 

    • PRAYAS (NGO): Juvenile Justice System in the country was to keep a separate system of law and justice for the juveniles.This system provided for care and protection to homeless, working, shelter-less and very poor children in the country, thus covering 95 per cent of children in need of care and protection. It was only less than 5 per cent children who commit crimes and come under juvenile system. It was further submitted that while upholding the constitutional validity of the Juvenile Justice Act, 2000, the Supreme Court concluded that there were only a few number of children committing crimes and that there was no need to reduce the age of 18 years.
    • Justice Verma, who was a former Head of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) was very lenient on the Juveniles involved in such crimes. He also quoted international norms to justify his stand that Juveniles should be given a chance to reform instead of being put in jail for life for one mistake.
    • Given that they lack the physical and mental maturity to introspect and reflect on their own, they cannot be expected to know better unless they are placed in an atmosphere of such kind.
  • Existing Act :
    • Juvenile Justice (care and protection of children) Act, 2000
      • Juvenile is upto the age of 18 years.

In recent SC verdict, a child who involved in Delhi rape case which was heinous crime in Indian history got only 3 years punishment under the JJA, 2000

Due to the above normal sentence given to the convict involved in heinous crime govt reacted and introduced a new bill which amends JJA, 2000 and Juvenile delinquency law.

 

  • Drafted Bill :

 

      • Juvenile Justice (care and protection of children) Bill, 2014

 

  • Provisions:

 

      • Replaces JJA, 2000 and addresses Children in Need of Care and Protection and Children in Conflict with Law.
      • Juvenile with age group from 16-18 years if involved in heinous crimes should be trailed as Adult.
      • Est of Juvenile Justice Board(JJB) and Child Welfare Committees(CWC) where JJB decides whether the juvenile should be trailed as adult or not and CWC provides institutional care for children who in need of care and protection.
      • Eligibility of adoptive parents and the procedure for adoption have been included in the bill.
      • Penalties for cruelty against child, offering a Narcotic substances to a child, and abduction or selling a child have been prescribed.

 

  • Negatives:

 

    • Treating Juvenile as adult based on date of apprehension (committing crime when juvenile and caught when became adult) will violate the Article 14 (right to equality) and Article 21 (requiring that laws and procedures are fair and reasonable)
    • It also violates Article 20(1) for same offence there will be higher punishment based on date of apprehended after 21 years.
    • Contravenes the Un convention on the Right of Child i.e., treat every child under 18 as equal.
    • Some penalties provided in the bill are not in proportion to the gravity of the act. E.g. Penalty for selling Child is less than the penalty when child is given narcotics.
    • Standing Committee of Parliament rejected the bill on grounds that the was based on misleading data regarding juvenile crimes(The National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) has pointed out that cases of rapes by Juveniles in 2013 was 60 per cent higher that in 2012) and violates certain provisions of the constitution

 

  • conclusion: A child is born innocent, and responsibility should be attributed to such environmental factors that have stirred his criminal tendencies, whose removal might mould him into a person of stature and excellence. Thus Child should be Educated rather than to Punish.

 

 

 

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