Juvenile delinquency means the act of committing the crime at a very young age, which is below 18. The law and age of the delinquent may vary in countries but the statutory age is under the age of 18. They are the adolescent who has not attained the legal age and fails to achieve the obligations expected by the society. It reflects the physiological and social problem of society and the child. All over the above, it is also a legal issue. Delinquency is seen as a state of an alarming issue all over the world. It is a social evil that is hampering the future of the youth.
Youth are expected to be obedient, respectful and have good virtues and qualities. They should be mentally strong, physically fit, endowed with skills and healthy. But due to some circumstances, they are unable to follow the expected rules and regulations and indulge themselves in wrongful and harmful acts. Juvenile delinquency is the gateway to adult crimes. Special care should be taken on the future of child offender. They should be trained under the rehabilitation centre for their and country betterment.
According to Coleman, Delinquency means “behaviour of youths under 18 years of age which is not acceptable to society and is generally regarded as calling for some kind of admonishment punishment or corrective measure”.
Delinquency includes all aspects of crime committed by the children. Starting from the use of illegal drugs, rape, business and murder, it includes all the various types of heinous crimes. The court averages more than thirty thousand cases of juvenile delinquency.
Mainly boys are more involved in the act of delinquency than girls. Common delinquents by the males are murder, theft, robbery, drugs, sexual abuse etc. Among the female, sexual offences, small thefts, running from home or drugs usage are common. Studies say that children from slum areas and lower-class families are more involved in delinquencies.
Causes of Juvenile Delinquency
Delinquents lack emotional ties and have low ethical values. They are short tempted, insensitive and lack guilty feeling. Their behaviour is not socially accepted. They have learned behaviour and have low lifestyles. They not only create difficulties for themselves but others as well. Juvenile delinquency can be found at each level of the social structure. Some causes are as follows:-
As per the study by the psychiatrist on delinquent children, it suggests that they do an offensive act because their mind says so. They do it because they want to do it. In this case, they cannot see anything wrong while doing it, as it provides immense satisfaction to them. They are not able to sense the nature of the activities they are doing.
The influence of bad people is the major reason is why children are entering into the world of crime. Those who are rejected and feel sparse join anti-social group. As the proverb says “A bad company can ruin the good moral”, knowingly or unknowingly they get involved in delinquent activities. It is learnt delinquency. Though the group has other values such as unity, fellow feeling and belongingness, it is are also associated with the crimes like rape, murder, rioting, boozing, taking drugs, dacoity etc. They form a gang and cause terror in society and they usually come from the background of less parental control and direction. Early childhood care and proper guidance and discipline, how the child is groomed up have a tremendous impact on the delinquent behaviour of the child.
It is found that 50 per cent of the delinquent come from a lower economic background. They do anti-social acts for their living. They are underprivileged elements of society who engage themselves in these activities. These children do not get scope for education because of their destitution and become wayward because of parental negligence. These children start to steal or sell drugs and other wrongful activities to supplement their parent’s earning.
Traumatic experiences can also lead children to do crimes. Broken homes or the death of parents or disorganised families can be some traumatic experience. Family plays a vital role in shaping children behaviour and personality. When children face disturbances at home they get more prone to criminal activities because of a lack of attention. Studies have shown that when teens are raised by single parents or divorced parents they are more likely to engage in crimes. As the joint family system is coming to an end and the new trend of the nuclear family has evolved where both the parents are working, children are left alone and because of lack of attention, they get indulged in unjustified actions.
Labelling of substandard titles can also lead the children into the involvement of the crime. The studies say that when we keep saying a person to do certain things they are instigated to do so. For example, calling someone a failure or loser can push him to commit a wrongful act.
Lack of communication between parent and teenagers also results in delinquent behaviour. Unity, trust, sense of belongingness may end which eventually lowers morale and self-esteem. Children of such family follow their peers and get addicted to drugs to occupy their attention and to look cool.
Legality of Juvenile Justice
If every Saint has a past, then every criminal has a future – Mahatma Gandhi.
Every sinner has the right to walk on the path of virtue, to take the chance and repent. With this view, India has framed legislation so that the government can look after the children and can help the delinquents to change their attitude and behaviour positively, that they can pave their path towards a better future.
India has advanced its framework of ordinance for Juvenile Justice. With the view of welfare and prosperity of the adolescent, some legislation is made so that proper care, guidance and protection are given to them.
Before 1986 of the Juvenile Justice Act was enacted to provide proper care and protection to delinquent children, the Juvenile Justice Act of 1850 was operative. Later Juvenile Justice Act 2000 was enacted. The working committee was set up and the act has been implemented since April 2001 to regulate the attitude of delinquent children.
The act was further amended in 2006 and 2010. The Juvenile Justice Bill was passed in 2014 when, In the Nirbhaya Rape case of Delhi, the juvenile was involved in the heinous crime of rape and murder. Juvenile Justice Bill became the Act in 2015 and was implemented on 15th January 2016. Under the Act of 1986 Juvenile Justice, section 2(a) defined the term juvenile as “the boy who has not attained the age of 16 years and the girl who has not attained the age of 18 years. India has signed the UN Convention Rights of the Child 1989, which says any person who is under the age of 18 years can be treated as a Juvenile.
The youth must be prevented from participating in criminal or antisocial activity. They should be given the utmost care, importance, attention and guidance. The youngster is a fast learner and they mostly get attracted towards negativity. In this case, education can help them to choose the right path. Rehabilitation, parenting control, tough sheltering, and punishments are some preventive measures.
One way to achieve criminal justice from juvenile delinquency is through the juvenile court system. Despite variation in culture in different parts of the world, but criminals are always punished by society, although the degree of punishment may very. Exemplary punishment should be given to the criminals so that no one dares to commit it. But sociologist and psychologist say that juvenile delinquency refers to the case of young children and minds so their cases should be handled with sensitivity.
Counselling, seminars, awareness program should be conducted by the government on juvenile justice at regular intervals to imbibe the message. Proper education should be given so that the juvenile can get back to their normal life and further can invest their studies for better living. Juvenile teachers should be specifically trained so that they can pay attention to the individual.
The minimum standard should be formulated of qualification, the standard of living, infrastructure, staff pattern so that they have a feeling of home. Along with education, they should be trained in any of the other activity. By being busy at work they can normalise themselves into society and can feel a sense of confidence.
The word delinquency is derived from the Latin word which means delinquitur. De means away and linquitur means to leave. When parents abandon their child they get emotionally hurt and finds a way to deal with their problems and insecurity which may lead them to do wrongful acts. Hence, parents’ role and care in shaping their child’s future is very important. When parents neglect their child and do not provide a healthy atmosphere, teens get diverted from the right direction. Parents should be attentive towards their child’s action and offend them by giving punishment or scolding them when they do wrongful acts.
Crime is such a thing that cannot be fully curbed from society but it can be reduced to some extent. The change in behaviour of youth is due to the mental trauma faced by them in their early age. The best way to eradicate this problem can be to rehabilitate them as early as possible and then amalgamate them back to society. The remedial methods to inculcate values and morals to these children so that they can get uplifted and can gain enthusiasm can play a constructive role in the future of society.
Author- Prerna Sahay (Bharati Vidyapeeth New law college)