Juvenile delinquency is an enormous problem in India by which most of the youth
ruin their lives. Because of juvenile crime and relate problems youth, their
families and the entire society suffer multiple consequences. Not only does the
problem affect the victims of the crime; it also affects the juvenile
delinquents family, their future, and the society as a whole. The most obvious
people affected by juvenile delinquency are the victims.
The most profound
consequence of crimes committed by juveniles carries due to socio-economic and
psychological problems which reflect on their family members and the society.
Due to the psychological problems, sometimes juveniles involved in robberies,
rapes and assaults also are significant. With these criminal activities the
juveniles habituate to consume alcohol or other drugs. The main objective of
this paper is to study the incidence of juvenile delinquency with reference to
The juvenile who commit serious crimes challenge
their future to protest perceived abuses that have been perpetrated against
them. This makes them psychological depression and in turn reflects to commit
more crimes. In this circumstance the study on incidence of juvenile delinquency
is very important to analyze the causes with reference to psychological
perspectives and annihilate in the society.
Juvenile delinquency is the criminal activity charged by a person who is under
the age of 18 years. In recent period these criminal activities are increasing
rapidly due to many reasons and circumstance. In most of the places juveniles
charged with serious crimes, such as robbery or murder which are transferred to
criminal courts and tried as an adult.
Sometimes prosecutors make this decision,
or sometimes allow transfers require a hearing to consider the age and record of
the juvenile, the type of crime, and the likelihood that the youth can be helped
by the juvenile court. As a result of a get tough attitude involving juvenile
crime, many counties have revised their juvenile codes to make it easier to
transfer youthful offenders to adult court.
In very simple words, juvenile delinquency is the participation in illegal
activities by minors. A juvenile delinquent is a person who is typically under
the age of 18 and commits an act that otherwise would have been charged and
tried as adults. So it is quite clear that juvenile delinquency is also a part
of all those behavioural change that occurs in a persons life while passing the
stormy phase of adolescence, though it is not found in every adolescent.
degree of delinquency varies from one to another and it remain unnoticed unless
and until the particular act becomes the concern of the society. Since
adolescence is the transitional period of life, during this phase one passes
through rapid revolutionary changes in one's physical, mental, moral, spiritual,
sex and social outlook. They become emotionally unstable and frequent mood
change is observed. It is the period of anxieties, worries, conflicts and
complexities. Therefore during this period they do certain things in order to
satisfy one need or the other which often lead them to become delinquent.
Delinquent children belong to that category of exceptional children who exhibit
considerable deviation in terms of their social adjustment and are consequently
also labeled as socially deviant or social handicapped. They display criminal
behaviour and are punishable under legal procedure. Violation of social norms
and values threaten the peace of the society, and are therefore considered as
The nature and kind of the crime may range from very mild to
severe, however, they are all antisocial, and hence are subjected to legal
criminal acts. In these sense, they are very much like criminals and antisocial
elements. In legal terminology, however, they are referred to as delinquents and
not as criminals. On whole, juvenile delinquency is a legal term which denotes
act of varying degrees of social consequences from mere naughtiness to major
assault punishable by law.
Who Is Juvenile
A juvenile is a person who is under the age of 18. The age limit below which it
should not be permitted to deprive the child of his or her liberty should be
determined by the law. Juvenile can be defined as the child who has not attained
a age at which he, like an adult under the law , can be held liable for his
The juvenile is the child who is alleged to have committed
some act or omission on the part of the child declared as a crime. Juvenile and
minor in legal terms are used in a different context. The word Juvenile is used
when reference is made to the young criminal offenders and the word minor
relates to legal capacity or majority. To make the meaning more clear resort can
profitably by made to some other source. The concept of the juvenile varies from
State of State for convenience.
What Is Juvenile Delinquency
Juvenile delinquency is the participation by a minor between the ages of 10 and
17, in illegal activities. When an individual deviates from the course of a
normal social life his behaviour is called 'Delinquenct'. When a juvenile, below
an age specified under a statute exhibits behaviour which may prove to be
dangerous to society and or for him, he may be called a juvenile delinquent.
Juvenile delinquents are those offenders including boys and girls who are under
18 years of age. A Juvenile delinquent is a young person incorrigible or
Act Of Delinquency May Include:
- Running away from home without the permission of parents.
- Habitual behavior beyond the control of parents.
- Spending time idly beyond limits.
- Use of vulgar languages.
- Committing sexual crime.
- Visiting gambling center etc.
Historical Background Of Juvenile Justice Law In India
Prior to the enactment of the juvenile justice (Care and Protection of Children)
Act,2ooo which came into force w.e.f. December 30, 2000, the juvenile justice
Act,1986 was the governing law on the subject. Before this act was introduce
w.e.f October 2,1987 the Children Act, 1960 was operative through the country
The States were, however ,authorized to enact their own laws for the care and
protection of the delinquent children and juveniles.
A perusal of the working of
the Children Act, 1960(subsequently repealed by j. j. Act,1986) would indicate
that greater attention was required to be given to children who were found in
situations of social maladjustment, delinquency or parental neglect. It was
deemed necessary that a uniform juvenile justice system should be introduce
throughout India which would take into account all aspects of the social,
cultural and economic change in the country. India, being a signatory to the
convention, drew up a comprehensive uniform legislation to replace the
ChildrenAct,1960 and the State enactments framed there under .Consequently
Juvenile Justice Act,1986 was enacted which came into force w.e.f. October
Causes Of Juvenile Delinquency
Understanding the causes of juvenile delinquency is an integral part of
preventing a young person from involvement in inappropriate, harmful and illegal
conduct. Four primary risk factors can identify young people inclined to
delinquent activities: individual, family, mental health and substance abuse.
Often, a juvenile is exposed to risk factors in more than one of these
Several risk factors are identified with juvenile delinquency. A minor who has a
lower intelligence and who does not receive a proper education is more prone to
become involved in delinquent conduct. Other risk factors include impulsive
behaviour, uncontrolled aggression and an inability to delay gratification. In
many instances, multiple individual risk factors can be identified as
contribution to a juvenile 's involvement in harmful, destructive and illegal
A consistent pattern of family risk factors are associated with the development
of delinquent behaviour in young people. These family risk factors include a
lack of proper parental supervision, ongoing parental conflict, neglect and
abuse (emotional, psychological or physical). Parents who demonstrate a lack of
respect for the law and social norms are likely to have children who think
similarly. Finally, those children that display the weakest attachment to their
parents and families are precisely the same juveniles who engage in
inappropriate activities, including delinquent conduct.
Mental Health Factors
Several mental health factors are also seen as contributing to juvenile
delinquency. In is important to keep in mind, however, that a diagnosis of
certain types of mental health conditions-primarily personality disorders –
cannot be made in regard to child. However, there are precursors of these
conditions that can be exhibited in childhood that tend to end up being
displayed through delinquent behaviour. A common one is conduct disorder.
Conduct disorder is defined as:
A lack of empathy and disregard for
societal norms. (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders,
Fourth Edition, American Psychiatric Association, 2004.)
Substance Abuse Factors
Substance abuse is found in a majority of cases of juvenile delinquency, Two
trends are identified in regard to substance abuse and minors. First, juveniles
are using more powerful drugs today than was the case as recently as 10 years
ago. Second, the age at which some juveniles begin using drugs is younger.
Children in elementary schools are found to be using powerful illegal drugs.
use of these illegal substances or the use of legal substances illegally
motivates young people to commit crimes to obtain money for drugs. Additionally,
juveniles are far more likely to engage in destructive, harmful and illegal
activities when using drugs and alcohol.
Prevention Of Juvenile Delinquency
Prevention is necessary for such children. First of all, we should identify such
juveniles and thereafter give him treatment. They will become habitual offender
if they are not timely prevented from committing the offence. The most effective
way to prevent juvenile delinquency has indisputably been to assist children and
their families early on.
Numerous state programs attempt early intervention, and
federal funding for community initiatives has allowed independent groups to
tackle the problem in new ways. The most effective programs share the following
key components. There are so many Jurists and criminologists who suggested many
provisions for the prevention of juvenile delinquency. Some of the provisions
are very useful for the welfare of the juveniles and their development.
Delinquency Prevention is the broad term for all efforts aimed at preventing
youth from becoming involved in criminal, or other antisocial, activity.
Increasingly, governments are recognizing the importance of allocating resources
for the prevention of delinquency. Prevention services include activities such
as substance abuse education and treatment, family counseling, youth mentoring,
parenting education, educational support and youth sheltering.
Preventive Programmes Of Juvenile Delinquency
There may be two kinds of programmes for preventing the juvenile delinquency:
- Individual Programme Individual programme involves the prevention of
delinquency through counseling, psychotherapy and proper education.
- Environmental programme Environmental programme involves the employment of
techniques with a view to changing the socio-economic context likely to promote
These two forms of preventive approaches are reflected in the following
strategies, which are adopted in crime prevention programmes.
- Individual Programme
- Clinical Programme
The object of this clinic is to provide aids through Psychiatrists Clinical
Psychologists and Psychiatric Social workers to help the Juveniles delinquents
in understanding their personality problems.
Taft and England have listed the
function of clinics as follows:
- To participate in discovery of pre delinquents.
- To investigate cases selected for study and treatment.
- To treat cases itself or to refer cases to other agencies for treatment.
- To interest other against in psychiatrically oriented types of treatment
of behavioral disorders in children.
- To reveal the community unmet needs of children.
- To cooperate in training of students intending to specialize in
treatment of behavioural problems.
- Educational Programme
The impacts of educational institutions are very significant in the countries
where almost every child going to school and preventive programme can be
launched in an effective manner through the schools. Teachers should not
discriminate among the students; they should be treated equally and provided the
moral education which is very helpful to the students for their life stand.
Moral education is a significant factor for the students, which decide their
life. They should be able to understand the difference between right and wrong
ideas which are favourable for them and which are not.
- Mental Hygiene
This method is also helpful in prevention and treatment of Juvenile delinquency.
To prevent the mental conflict and to bring about a proper mental adjustment in
childhood and value of mental therapy in curing a mental disturbance cannot be
over-emphasized. The mission of life must be determined and energies must be
directed towards the fulfillment of the high mission. Development of high
sentiment and values in child also prevent Juvenile Delinquency.
1944, on occasion of inauguration of the Indian Council for Mental Hygiene Dr. K.R. Masani, the then Director of Indian Institute 72 of Psychiatry and Mental
Hygiene, said that the application of mental Hygiene was wide and varied and in
Education, Law, Medicine, Public health, Industry, mental hygiene played an
important role in preventing the delinquency and crime.
- Parent education
Every community should ensure opportunities for parental educations, which will
help making good homes, improve family relationship, and education and care of
children. Some educational programmes inform parents on how to raise healthy
- Recreational programmes
The recreational programmes are a good check on delinquency. Recreation programs
enable youths to mix up with other adults and children in the community and
develop friendship. Such positive friendships may assist children in later
years. Youth programs are designed to fit the personalities and skills of
different children and may include sports, dancing, music, rock climbing, drama,
karate, bowling, art, and other activities.
It is believed that the energies of
youth can be very well channelized into pursuits like sport games and other
healthy activities, which would counteract delinquent among the participants.
The establishment of recreational agencies like sports, playgrounds community
centers, concerts drama, puppet shows are very necessary for preventing the
delinquency and developing social group work and youth groups. In rural areas,
recreational agencies should provide open air meeting halls, playgrounds for
sports and cultural activities. Youth organizations and groups/agencies should
take and assume the responsibility for organizing these programmes so that
Juvenile may be kept away from delinquency.
- Removal of inferiority complex
Inferiority complex, fear, apprehension may sometimes lead the child to commit
crime under wrong and misplaced belief/impression of proving himself. Children
deserve encouragement to become confident and good spirited person.
Discouragement pulls them behind in their life. They should be properly to face
various good and bad phases of life and their failures should not be criticized.
Praise cheer, sympathy and love should be showered to banish inferiority
- Environmental programme
- Community Progammes
The basic aim of community programme is to reach the people in need of help
instead of people approaching the workers and agencies. Another significance of
this programme is that the participation of the local community is considered to
be more important and role of professional leadership is sought to be kept at
the minimum level.
Marshal B. Clinard has outlined the key supposition of these
programmes as follows:
- Local people will participate in efforts to change neighborhood
- And they do not accept an adverse social and physical environment as
natural and enviable
- Because self-imposed changes in the immediate Environment will have real
significance to the resident and consequently will have more permanent
This method can also be very useful in preventing the Juvenile Delinquency. The
newspapers, magazines, radio, television and motion pictures etc. should show
the juvenile delinquency in proper perspective honestly and should also present
real reports about the various wrong done by the juveniles and analyze its true
causes and also protect the juvenile against false and misleading reporting. The
actual position should be presented and produced before the society about their
delinquent behavior so that they may be properly assessed.
- Parental love and affection
Child needs unconditional, immediate and true love, care and protection of his
mother and father. On account of deprivation of such love and care the child may
develop frustration and dissatisfaction leading to crime. So parental love, care
and protection is very necessary for the child to prevent him for committing or
doing the crime. So parental love, care and protection is very necessary for the
child to prevent him for committing or doing the crime.
- Family Environment
Family factors which may have an influence on offending includes the level of
parental supervision, the way parents discipline a child, parental conflict or
separation, criminal parents or siblings, and the quality of the parent-child
relationship. Many studies have found a strong correlation between a lack of
supervision and offending, and it appears to be the most important family
influence on offending.
Exploitation of children has been a long standing practice. These delinquent go
through a lot of abuse which vary in nature as physical, sexual, or
psychological or as a combination. The abuse has a long lasting and profound
effect on a child's life. The problem of child abuse is a serious one and it is
unlikely that it gets solved any sooner.
Also the reason why this has prolonged
is that the society has affected the children in a negative way and in the
society there are factors such as family influence, social environment, mental
disorder and sexual abuse. This develops in young people low self-influence,
social environment, mental disorder and sexual abuse. This develops in young
people low self-esteem and they go through mental trauma which later correlates
with delinquent behavior.
What needs to be done is the question that arises before us. We cannot uproot
this menace but there are solutions to keep a control on the problem of Juvenile
Delinquency. In the best interest of the delinquent he or she should be
rehabilitated as early as possible and integrated back in the society. Also the
State must protect the rights of these children and come up with reformative
methods and instill in them values that can socially uplifts them and give them
a new found confidence so that they can play a constructive role in the society.
- See the Black Dictionary of Law
- Prakash Haveripet, Causes and consequences of juvenile delinquency in India.
- Priyanka Yadav, Juvenile Delinquency as a Behavioural Problem
- Talf and England, Criminology P. 524.
- Albee, G.W: A Spectre is Hauting the outpatient clinic in Alan B.B. Tulipan
and Saul Feldman (eds) Psychiatric Clinics in Transition (1969); pp. 1-24.
- Quoted in Elmer Hurbert Johnson: Crime, Correction and Society. (1974). P.
- Caven, J.D. Functions of the Juvenile Courts, p. 281
- Family Law Lexis Nexis
- The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection) Act, 2000
- Juvenile Delinquency by K. Padmaja.
- Adenwalla, Maharukh (2006). Child Protection and Juvenile Justice System: for
Juvenile in Conflict with Law, 13, Childline India Foundation.
- Ved Kumari (2004). The Juvenile Justice System in India: From Welfare to Rights
(Law in India) Oxford University Press, USA; I St Edition.
- Manish Dwaivedi (2011). Juvenile Justice System in India, Adhyayan Publisher.
- Clayton A. Hartjen, S. Priyadarsini (2009). Delinquency in India: a comparative
analysis Rutgers University Press
- Bernd-Dieter Meier and Abhijit D. Vasmatkar (2011). Juvenile Justice in
Different Cultural Contexts: A Comparison of India and Germany. Journal of
International criminal law doctrine ZIS 6/ pp. 491-501.