Juvenile Justice in India

India is home to the largest child population in the world. Children are recognized worldwide as supreme assets of the state and the longer term of the state lies within the hands of the kids. However, the crime rate by children under the age of 16 years has increased in the last few decades. The reason behind the increasing crime rate is due to the upbringing and the environment of the child, economic conditions, lack of education and parental care. And the most disappointing part is that children, especially under the age group of 5 to 7 years, nowadays are used as a tool for committing the crime as at this stage their mind is very innocent and can easily be influenced.


  • A Juvenile can be defined as a child who has not attained a certain age at which he, like an adult person under the law of the land, can be held liable for his criminal acts.
  • The juvenile is a child who is alleged to have committed /violated some law that declares the act or omission on the part of the child as an offence.
  • Juvenile is used when reference is made to young criminal offenders and minor relates to legal capacity or majority.
  • Someone who is below the age of eighteen is termed as a Juvenile.
  • The Juvenile Justice Act creates a juvenile justice system in which persons up to the age of 18 who commit an offence punishable under any law are not subject to imprisonment in the adult justice system but instead will be subject to advice/admonition, counselling, community service, payment of a fine or, at the most, be sent to a remand home for three years.
  • As demonstrated by the UNCRC[1] ‘a youth means every individual underneath the age of eighteen years unless, under the law pertinent to the child, the overwhelming part is accomplished sometime recently’. 
  • The  Indian  Penal  Code  (IPC), 1860  states that no child under the age of seven may be held criminally liable (Sec 82 IPC)[2]. By uprightness of mental impediment or frailty to fathom the after-effects of one’s exercises the criminal obligation age is raised to twelve years (Sec 83 IPC)[3].
  • Article  21  (A)  of  the  Indian  Constitution,  “the  State  shall  provide  free  and compulsory education to all children of the age of six to fourteen years in such manner as the State may, by law, determine.” Article 45 states that “the State shall endeavour to provide early childhood care and education for all children until they complete the age of six years”.  And Article 51 (A)(k) states “who is a parent or guardian to provide opportunities for education to his child or, as the case may be, ward between the age of six and fourteen years”.
  • The  Child  Labor  (Prohibition and  Regulation)  Act,  1986  defines a  child as a  man who has not completed fourteen years of age.
  • The  Motor  Transport  Workers  Act  1961,  and  The  Beedi and  Cigar  Workers  (Conditions of Employment) Act 1966, both portray a child as a  man who has not completed the fifteenth years and fourteenth years of age respectively.
  • The Mines Act, 1952 is the significant trade-related act that depicts an adult as a man who has completed eighteen years of age (thus a child is a man who has not completed eighteen years of age.
Juvenile Justice in India


  • 1897 – Reformatory school Act: It was the principal law which required that youngsters between the ages of 10- 18 sentenced in Courts, to be given professional training as a major aspect of their restoration procedure.
  • 1920 – Madras Children Act, The Juvenile Court theory was first presented in this Act.
  • 1922-Bengal Children Act
  • 1924-Bombay Children Act
  • 1960 – The Children Act, This Act built up particular Child Welfare Boards to deal with cases identifying with dismissed kids. It likewise made the situation of a post-trial agent who could “prompt and helps dismiss or reprobate children.”
  • 1986 – The Juvenile Justice Act instituted to accommodate mind, security, treatment, improvement and restoration of dismissed and reprobate adolescents and for the mediation of specific issues identified with the demeanour of reprobate adolescents.
  • 2000 – Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection) Act has guaranteed that regardless of religion, youngsters needing consideration and assurance are given the advantages of a different legal process.
  • 2015-The New Juvenile Justice (care and protection of children), Act
  • 2012-Protection of kids from the Sexual Offences Act
  • 2006-Prohibition of kid wedding Act


The Juvenile Justice (JJ) system is based on principles of promoting, protecting and safeguarding the rights of children. Juvenile Justice System is based on the principle of social welfare and rights of the child. The prime focus of the JJS is reformation and rehabilitation. It is to create an opportunity for the child to develop his personality. The goal is to create an egalitarian society of high order. We are bound to build good infrastructure and efficient Juvenile Justice Administration for the benefit of our efficient future resource.

Juvenile Justice in India


This essential enactment was initiated by the Indian Parliament in 1986. In the year 2000, the Act was comprehensively revised based on

  • the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC),
  • the Beijing Rules;
  • the United Rules for the Protection of Juveniles Deprived of their Liberty; and
  • all other national and international instruments,

thereby clearly defining children as persons up to the age of 18 years (Section 2 (k) of the Act defines “child‘ as a person who has not completed eighteen years of age. The Act is based on the provisions of the Indian Constitution and the four broad rights defined by the UNCRC:

• Right to Survival
• Right to Protection
• Right to Development
• Right to Participation

The other basic rights of kids by the Convention of the rights of the children are outlined as the right to health and care, the right to protection from abuse, the right to protection from exploitation, right to protection from neglect, right to information, right to expression and right to nutrition, etc.

The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000, is the primary legal framework for the juvenile justice system in India. The JJ Act primarily focuses on the twin interrelated aspects of juvenile delinquency and the handling of children in need of care and protection. The JJ Amendment Act, 2006, brought substantive changes to the JJ Act, 2000. It has been enacted to provide for care, protection, development, and rehabilitation of neglected, delinquent children and includes within its ambit child labourers.

WHO criticized this Act on several grounds: initial, stating it to be retributive, not helpful. The introduction of The New Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of children), 2015, has introduced a number of exceptional changes within the existing Juvenile Law. Besides this, the paper has centred on the anticipated scenario which can arise since the New Juvenile Justice Act, 2015 are browsing with Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 and Prohibition of child wedding Act, 2006.

Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA) has been given the status of a statutory body to enable it to perform its function more effectively streamline adoption procedures for an orphan, abandoned a1nd surrendered children.

Juvenile Justice in India

The Juvenile Justice Board

  1. When a child alleged to be in conflict with law is apprehended by the police, he/she will be placed under the charge of the special juvenile police or the designated child welfare police officer, who shall produce the child before the Juvenile Justice Board.
  2. An inquiry may satisfy a Board that a child, irrespective of age, has committed a petty offence, or a serious offence, or a child below the age of 16 has committed a heinous offence. In such a case, it may: a. Allow the child to go home after advice or admonition. b. Direct the child to participate in group counselling and similar activities. c. Order the child to perform community service. d. Order the child, or parents of the child, to pay a fine. e. Release the child on probation of good conduct. f. Direct the child to a special home for a period not exceeding three years.
  3. In case of a heinous offence by a child above the age of 16, the Board may say that there is a need for a trial of the child as an adult. No child in conflict with the law shall receive a death or life imprisonment sentence without the possibility of release.


The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) is a self-ruling body to check the advancement and assurance of human rights in India. Since the beginning of the National Human Rights Commission, the predicament of adolescents who come in the class of contention with law and kids who need care and assurance was their worry. The National Human Rights Commission screens the grievances against youngsters; Projects and Programs Division and arrangement making and usage of the strategies at the national level. The National Human Rights Commission sorted out a National Conference on Juvenile Justice System in India in 2007 in New Delhi. In the Conference number of proposals and recommendations made to enhance the working of the framework in India. Concern was laid on the execution of the Act underlined on giving due care, security, development, and advancement of youngsters.

Juvenile Justice in India


Constitutional Provisions have encouraged the developments in the field of the juvenile justice system in India. Part III and Part IV of the constitution of India which deal with “Fundamental Rights” as it guarantees Fundamental Rights to all children in the country and empowers the State to make special provisions for children and “Directive Principles of State Policy” specifically guide the State in securing the tender age of children from abuse and ensuring that children are given opportunities and facilities to develop in a healthy manner in conditions of freedom and dignity, respectively and contain special provisions with respect to care and protection of the children such as Article 15 (3), Article 21-A, Article 23, Article 39(e), Article 24, Article 39(f), Article 45, Article 47 and so on.


Disastrously a broad number of children are obstructed from securing their childhood and right to bearing and thereby they are subjected to exploitation, misuse, and abuse. Juvenile crimes are a harsh reality, and to reduce them, the Act must be effectively implemented, along with that awareness must be created. The approach and the thinking of the essential players in the system, like the officials and authorities, need to change from punitive to reformative and hence shows better results. Though the government has laid various legislations and rules to stop the incidents of juvenile crimes, the present laws on juveniles are not creating a deterrent effect on the juveniles and thus the results are not fruitful and the legislative intent is not accomplishing. Change is possible through better social, economic conditions, creation of awareness and also through a change in people’s attitudes towards juveniles. The future accomplishment of the nation depends upon how the nation’s precious human resources (children) perform and execute.

[1] United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child
[2] Section 82in IPC. Act of a child under seven years of age.—Nothing is an offence which is done by a child under seven years of age.
[3] Section 83 in The Indian Penal Code
83. Act of a child above seven and under twelve of immature understanding.—Nothing is an offence which is done by a child above seven years of age and under twelve, who has not attained sufficient maturity of understanding to judge of the nature and consequences of his conduct on that occasion.

Chandrakala BB

I am Chandrakala .B.B., a student at TamilNadu Dr.Ambedkar’s Law University Govt. Law College, Madurai studying BA.LLB. majoring in a 5 yrs B.A.LLB Course. I'm the one who driven to hard work that will give me the further exposure I need to advance my career. I'm always in need of an opportunity to offer my services and express my interest in pursuing my job as a dedicated and advanced one. I am one of the active students in my class and have maintained a good percentage for the years. And I had merited with certificates for Essay, Elocution and Poetry Competitions. I have also done internships in Legal firms and participated in Moot Competitions and Debates.
View Profile View All Posts