Parul
SHOULD MINORS BE TREATED AS JUVENILE FOR COMMITTING HEINOUS CRIMES?
Parul Madaan 27 Mar 2020

SHOULD MINORS BE TREATED AS JUVENILE FOR COMMITTING HEINOUS CRIMES?

INTRODUCTION

According to our present system of juvenile justice, when a minor commits a crime that is not necessarily committed by them alone, it is assumed that it is because of the spirit of adventure that is in every minor, or because of his own ignorance, or because of his lack of discipline. Yet they fail to realize that in the future, mankind has its stars, and the future is too vital to be wasted under the weight of youthful stupidity and naive superstition.

The word' Juvenile' was coined in the late 1800s when juvenile crime and abuse were redefined as distinct and separate from adult crimes, and new social intervention structures were created to handle children with problems. Young offenders who used to be treated as just young ‘criminals' were turned into' juveniles.' Nevertheless, the word ‘juvenile' reflects a number of different behaviors and means different things at various times and locations.

WHO IS A JUVENILE?

A juvenile is a child who has not reached eighteen years of age. The term has a legal significance to it. According to the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection) Act, 2000, a juvenile is not to be considered as an adult even though he / she are involved in any criminal activity for the purposes of conviction and punishment in court.

REASON BEHIND JUVENILE CRIMES IN INDIA

There are many factors which contribute to the child's criminal nature. Most of these young people come from discording or abusive homes. Peer pressure, environment also has an impact on a child's growth. Poverty is also one of the major causes of juvenile delinquency. While education plays an significant role in molding future people, the framework somehow lacks the capacity to keep non-bookish and non-academic individuals' interest and thus leads to many cases of juvenile delinquency. Delinquents are typically the ones who take studies as a burden and resort to crime on being rebuked. Crime committed by minors under the statutory age is referred to as juvenile criminal offence. According to the statistics reported by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), juvenile offenders between the ages of 16 and 18 accounted for more than 60 per cent of the crimes recorded in India in 2013. The number of juveniles in dispute with the law has reportedly risen in recent years by a large amount. This also included the modesty of outraged women.

 

MEASURES

There are some steps that can help in changing these children:

1.      Instill in them a sense of security and offer them the love and affection they might have been deprived of.

2.      Parents should be encouraged to identify early signs of maladjustment, so that any inclination towards delinquency can be broken at the roots.

3.      At the very beginning, a sense of moral and social values should be instilled in them.

4.      Upon identification of a delinquent behavior, one must remember to condemn the behavior and not the offender.

PRESENT LEGISLATION

The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection) Act, 2000 (hereinafter called “The Act”) stipulates that juveniles in conflict with the law or juvenile offenders must be detained in an' Observation Home' while children in need of care and security must be detained in a'‘Children's Home' during proceedings pending before the competent authority.

A juvenile will only be detained for a maximum duration of 3 years, irrespective of the severity of the crime that he has committed, and he will be remanded to' Special Home.' The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection) Act, 2000 provides protection for the offender who is under the age of 18 Years at the time of the commission of the alleged crime from prosecution in Criminal Court or other penalty under Criminal Law pursuant to section 17 of the Act.

This new Act was intended to rehabilitate the child and assimilate him / her in mainstream society. The reasoning is that due to his / her tender age and lack of maturity a child still has the potential of being transformed and it is the State's duty to protect and change the child.

Taking into account the rise in juvenile crimes, the Union Cabinet has approved an amendment to the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000, to consider minors over 16 years of age as adults if charged with serious crimes such as rape. However, such delinquent youth are not to be granted death or life imprisonment.

PROPOSED AMENDMENT IN JUVENILE JUSTICE ACT 2000

1.      The proposed law would amend the current Juvenile Act.

2.      It specifically described and categorized crimes as minor, serious and heinous.

3.      It was recognized that the increasing number of serious offenses committed by juveniles in the 16-18-year age range.

4.      Therefore, in consideration of the victims ' rights as well as the rights of juveniles, it is recommended that these heinous crimes should be treated in a specific way.

5.      Therefore, it was proposed that if a person in the age group of 16 to 18 years commits a heinous crime, the Juvenile Justice Board will first determine whether the crime was committed by that person as a' child' or as an' adult.'

6.      The Juvenile Justice Board will include psychologists and social professionals in it to ensure that juvenile rights are adequately secured if the crime is committed.

CONCLUSION

It is reasonable to assume the juveniles committing crimes such as rape, since the best known example is the case of Nirbhaya Delhi Rape, in which the juvenile is sent to correctional home for just 3 years. This amendment in the JJ Act also provides the other offenders a means to commit their heinous crimes which they can now achieve through such juveniles since they are safe that the juveniles will be free after 3 years and then again can join their gang as a mature criminal.

 

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