Juvenile Delinquency: a holistic view!

Juvenile Delinquency : What Makes Teenager Commit a Crime?

Juvenile Delinquency: It is a fallacy that children are the form of God. The very phase of childhood which we all pass and become adult permeate the basic goodness or wickedness in us. Crime is a crime. If substituting its label with delinquency do any good to its tenor, it shall be greeted. Rather doing so, nothing changes but basically results in heinous crimes later on. Apart from the basic definition of delinquency, this word means to get a protective cover after offending, simply in the name of age bars.

Grounds of the delinquency

To solely blame a child is not a rational approach. Instead, other simultaneously running factors are responsible for the delinquency:

Poverty

The foremost is poverty which is the root cause of any crime at any age. And here comes the mindset of children who are prone to any set of ideas and circumstances revolving around them to fulfil their basic requirements. This leads to unethical ways of earning a livelihood. Children are exposed to workhouses without any proper supervision. They spend their all-time and education goes far behind leaving no trace of it in the children’s mind. Coming in contact with a variety of people they start indulging themselves in petty thieveries. Slowly and gradually this leads them to serious crimes and ultimately to heinous offences.

Popular Media

The access to technology just at a distance of a finger touch is connecting us with so many new tasks, adventures, personalities, life events at distant places, and such uncountable stuff. At the same time, we come across unauthorized sites, unknown figures, manipulative people, attractive deals, and many others. The main concern is to choose wisely among them and not be a part of criminal activities such that it hampers one’s life as well as the people in contact with them. 

Socialization

Previously, people were respected for their good character but now nobody is concerned with such character, just their position/rank is referred to. And in this race children are taught and asked to focus more on their goal rather than their self-being. It is justified to remark that, “it is the corrupt society which breeds the criminals”. The factors upheld to socialization are the callousness of the society, by some outward forces, the circumstances throughout which the child is developing, some needs and some wants.

Forced/Child Labour

The coercive conditions to work or the exigency to earn at an early age broadens the scope of juvenile delinquency. The company to which a child is exposed is the most necessary factor to be looked upon. It is more to take care of the bond in which the child spends the most hours working. Therefore, the company should be good or else one will be prone to engage in offences. Conditions arise when the child wants to escape from that surrounding and in doing so at times indulge in illegal activities such as prostitution, smuggling of drugs, etc. which results in an unrescued involvement in it.

Family abuse

When a family mistreats their child, blames unnecessarily, not ready to listen, and taking decisions without any mutual consultation, then the possibilities raise where a child runs off the home or being at the home, in any case, plans to divert the mind and do anything new and different on his/her part irrespective of the output and social or mental impacts upon them due to these unchecked engagements. So family plays a significant role in shaping their children and giving them the right tips and suggestions from time to time which results in positive holistic development. 

Lack/excess of attention

Proper balanced attention is needed for a child. Lack or excess of anything is harmful and so is the case here. When both parents are engaged in outer work then the child gets little attention and in search of it roams around and makes involvement with stranger people and companies which unknowingly drive them into unlawful acts and misdeeds. There is also another condition where a child gets excess attention and pampering due to which the mental building takes place as such that nothing will harm the self and parents or power are there to protect them from any act of offence. This excess of attention may be either due to being the single child of a parent or the parent being excessively overpowered and protected by forces. A single child has more anger levels apart from the siblings whereas the latter category loses all the fear of getting any harm either by the society or by the judiciary. So balancing the right amount of attention and enrooting ethics in a child is the right duty of any responsible parent.

Some legal outlining as per the Indian Constitution

As per the Indian Constitution, a juvenile is one who hasn’t attained the age of 18. Section 82 and 83 of IPC(Indian Penal Code) lay down the way for juveniles to get protected in case of delinquency.
Sec. 82: Act of a child under seven years of age.–Nothing is an offence which is done by a child under seven years of age.
Sec. 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 the nature and consequences of his conduct on that occasion.

These defence provided to the juveniles by the IPC doesn’t mean that there is scope for them to perform any criminal acts.
To curb such offences, the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act 2000 was brought. But it too had some repercussions. This law made the offenders under the age of 18, irrespective of their gender, liable to do any kind of offence and get defended in the name of being juvenile. This left no fear among the offenders and let them do any level of offence, be it rape or murder. To deal with this drawback, the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act 2015 came into effect, which imposed certain limits to the previous one. The changes were as such that the offenders of heinous crimes such as ‘rapes’ and ‘murders’ under the age of 16-18 were to be tried as adults and their offences will be examined by the Juvenile Justice Board. This board is specially formed to ascertain as if what were the conditions and circumstances with the child at the time of the offence.

Conclusion

For any and every crime, there should be a law such that:

  1. justice is delivered to the victim in time, and,
  2. the perpetrator is awarded the punishment as such these punishments act as a deterrent to others.
    In my opinion, heinous crimes are unpardonable and wasting the time to investigate the circumstances in the life of that offender, is really a mistake and not a good solution to it. Therefore, I left the readers with two situations in which: a 17-year-old child kills the father of another 17-year-old child, then pardoning the offender just due to his age, is it justice to another child of the same age… Or, a 17-year 6-month-old boy rapes a girl of any age, simply gets exonerated after completing his 18 years of age which is just 6 months away, will it be justice to that girl…

References: Sec.82 INDIAN PENAL CODE,1860 (1)

Sec.83 INDIAN PENAL CODE,1860