Date: 29 October, 2020
by Sakshi Verma, UILS, Panjab University
WHO IS A JUVENILE DELINQUENT?
According to Section 2(k) of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000 defines Juvenile or as a person who is below 18 years of age.
A juvenile is an individual who has not met a specific age prescribed to be having the requisite mens rea to commit an offence and is therefore, tried differently than an adult for his criminal acts.
JUVENILE JUSTICE LEGISLATIONS IN INDIA
Preceding the British in India, the acts of children were governed under the existing personal laws of Hindus and Muslims, where the family and guardians of the individual concerned were considered liable for checking the activities of their youngsters.
In the British period, some particular laws were passed between 1850 and 1919, similar to the Apprentice Act (1850), the Code of Criminal Procedure (1861) and the Reformatory School Act (1876 and 1897).
Under the Apprentice Act (1850), it was held that petty offenders from 10-18 years of age ought to be managed separately and the juveniles were supposed to work as apprentices for businessmen.
Section 82 of the Indian Penal Code of 1860 likewise perceived the extraordinary status of children. It exempts children younger than 7 from culpability. The minors somewhere in the range of 7 and 12 years old were considered to have adequate maturity to comprehend the nature and consequences of their activities in specific situations.
The Code of Criminal Procedure of 1861 talks of special trials of children younger than 15 years and their treatment under the reformatories as opposed to prisons.
Under the Reformatory School Act 1876 and 1897, the juvenile delinquents are to be put in reformatory schools for a period of two to seven years and as they turn into majority i.e- 18 years of age, they are then transferred to adult prisons.
In 1986, the Indian government passed the Juvenile Justice Act. It was a social enactment that intended to give care, protection, treatment and rehabilitation for neglected and delinquent children. juvenile courts were formed for the offenders and juvenile welfare boards for the neglected youngsters.
The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act was passed in 2000. The primary target of the new Act was to guarantee that no juvenile delinquent is kept in prison. The Act additionally made arrangements for the care, protection and rehabilitation of children. The Act was amended in 2006 and 2010.
Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015 came into force on January 15, 2016. It abolished the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000 and made a provision for juveniles involved in heinous crimes from ages 16-18 to be tried as adults.
FEATURES OF THE JUVENILE JUSTICE (CARE AND PROTECTION OF CHILDREN) ACT, 2015
The Act permits the formation of a Juvenile Justice Board, the bill will permit a Juvenile Justice Board, which would incorporate psychologists and analysts, to choose whether an adolescent offender of 16–18 ought to be tried as an adult or not.
The Act talks of creation of foster care in the country. Families would volunteer for foster care and all the children who are abandoned or orphan or are juvenile delinquents would be sent to them though, they will be monitored by the Government and financial aid will also be provided by the Government.
A person giving alcohol or drugs to a child shall be punished with 7 years imprisonment and/or ₹100,000 fine. Corporal punishment will be punishable by ₹50,000 or 3 years of imprisonment. A person selling a child will be fined with ₹100,000 and imprisoned for 5 years.