Leading causes of crime committed by children and related Act

Leading Causes Of Crime Committed By Children & Related Act

Who is a Juvenile?
Types of Juvenile Crimes in India
Causes of juvenile crimes in India
Main Objectives of the Juvenile Justice Act 2000
Reasons for the amendment in the JJ Act 2000
Juvenile Justice Act, 2015 Features
Juvenile Justice Board
Child Welfare Committee
Positive Aspects of the Juvenile Justice Act, 2015 
Negative Aspects of the Juvenile Justice Act, 2015

Child abuse is one of the many evils in our society. Such abuse has a lasting and profound impact on a child's life. The problem of child abuse is serious as it forces the child to react or behave in a harmful way to society and him. This delinquent behavior is due to the trauma that he goes through in the early stages of his life. Abuse varies in nature as physical, sexual, psychological, or a combination thereof, negatively affecting these youths.

To control the problem of juvenile delinquency, it is necessary to eradicate this practice from society. It is in the best interest of the devious child that he is rehabilitated and integrated back into society at the earliest. The State should protect the rights of these children and come up with remedial ways to inculcate values in these children, which can uplift them socially and give them confidence so that they can play a constructive role in society.

In recent years, India has seen an enhancement in the crime rates committed by minors. In the discussion of sociologists, the major Causes are that the core of these crimes is rural-urban conflict and increased crimes in cities. The majority of the offenders in juvenile delinquency in India are from rural and semi-urban backgrounds. Most of the children who commit such crimes are from poor backgrounds. They are unaware of the result. Punishing them instead of promoting rehabilitation will do little to improve the society of the future. 

The government should reform the child care institutions to provide a better environment for the growth and development of the child. Improvement in slum areas and government-aided schools through infrastructure development to reduce crimes committed by minors. This law provides an efficient mechanism for children who need care and protection. However, continuous monitoring of its functioning is necessary to maintain and improve its effectiveness.

Who is a Juvenile?

  • A person below 18 years is known as a juvenile.
  • No child under seven years of age in India can be convicted under any law.
  • The distinction between children who opposed the law and children who needed assistance was called juvenile, making it ambiguous and difficult to distinguish.
  • Therefore, "children in breach of law" and "children in need of care and protection" were included in the amended law.

Types of Juvenile Crimes in India

  1. Personal Juvenile Crimes: It indicates the offense in which only one child is involved committing the crime, and the reason thereof differs among the juveniles. Psychiatrists have given the most criminal explanation for this illegal behavior. They argue that juvenile delinquency is caused by psychological problems mainly from faulty inappropriate pathological family interactions. If we can understand the child’s condition, then juvenile delinquency in India can be stopped.
  2. Situational juvenile delinquency: In today's time, circumstantial crime presents a different perspective as it tells the position and circumstances of the juvenile. The roots of evil are not deep, and the impetus for corruption and the means to control it are often relatively straightforward. A young person commits criminal acts without a deep commitment to the crime because they have less developed mental control and less intense family control and have relatively little to eat even when caught.
  3. Organized juvenile delinquency: This delinquency is committed by the growth of organized groups to define juvenile delinquency in India formally. The concept relates to the values and norms that govern the behavior of group members, encourage guilt, confer a reputation based on such actions, and refer to a specific relationship with those who form groups with them.
  4. Group Supported juvenile delinquency: In India, this type of juvenile delinquency is intertwined with others. These crimes are based on personality, the person or in the offender's family, but the culture of the individual and the neighborhood.

Causes of juvenile crimes in India:

Circumstances have made them who they are. The socio-cultural environment within and outside one's home has a significant impact on one's life and general personality. The causes of juvenile delinquency are a poor association, juvenile instability, impulsivity, early sexual experiences, mental conflict, excessive social suggestion, love of adventure, movies, school dissatisfaction, poor entertainment, street life, occupational dissatisfaction, impulse, and physical conditions of various kinds. However, in India, poverty and the influence of the media, especially social media, encourage youth to engage in illegal activities. Poverty is one of the significant factors for child involvement in criminal activities. At the same time, the current function of social media has a more devastating effect on young minds.
Here the causes of juvenile delinquency have been studied in three sections:-

  1. Social reasons for juvenile delinquency
  2. Psychological reasons for juvenile delinquency
  3. Economic reasons.

1.  Social reasons for juvenile delinquency family: 

Family factors may include ongoing family feuds, neglect, abuse, or the absence of proper parental supervision. Children whose Parents demonstrate a lack of respect for the law and social norms of the country may imbibe the same. Moreover, children that display the weakest attachments with their families appear to be the same juveniles who engage in inappropriate
The following circumstances concerning the family are:

  • Bad association: The lousy association of the child is the reason for Juvenile Crimes in India. Some author discusses criminal behavior as learned by interacting with another person. Extreme neglect of helpful definitions in violation of the law makes a person a criminal. Among boys, one finds evil, and some have good relations. A man's behavior has a significant influence on his companions.

  • School atmosphere: Even after completing school, the child’s personality is influenced by his school. Running away from school is significant juvenile delinquency. Researchers say that the main reason for running away from school is the involvement of criminals in the gang of neglect of teachers. The teacher has weaknesses in the subject, and the level of education exceeds the qualifications, becoming juvenile delinquency in India.

  • Criminal Areas: Most of the children in the criminal area see the work of criminals in this area and their style. The child does not decide his good or bad. They know that if they are caught while committing a crime, they will get their punishment, but still, they agree to commit that crime.

  • Social disorder: Social disintegration involves the disintegration of the individual. With the breakdown of society, the number of criminals is increasing. Social disorganization is also one of the causes of adolescence. There is a significant lack of coordination and equality in modern industrial society; this leads to increased tension and youth turn towards juvenile delinquency in India.

  • Substance abuse factors: Substance abuse is found in a majority of juvenile delinquent cases. Juveniles today were using more powerful drugs than adolescents ten years ago. Moreover, these children start consuming drugs at a younger age. These illegal or legal substances lead these adolescents to commit crimes. Additionally, when a child is under the influence of drugs or alcohol, he is most likely to engage in destructive, harmful, ad illegal activities.

2.  Psychological reasons for juvenile delinquency:

  • Mental illness: Some criminals have reported a close link between mental illness and crime. The research focused on adolescents and patients with various mental disorders has been found. The child needs treatment, not punishment. Some cognitive therapists attribute psychopathic personality to the cause of juvenile delinquency in India. A psychopathic child is born into a family lacking love, control, and affection. A minor with lower intelligence who has not received proper education is more likely to be involved in delinquent behavior. Other factors may include impulsive behavior, uncontrolled aggression, and the inability to delay gratification. Mental Health factors are also a part of individual factors. Their mental state is crucial for their behavior in society. Thus, these factors can contribute to the involvement of a juvenile in harmful, destructive, and illegal activities.

  • Personality characteristics: There is a very close relationship between personality traits and the propensity to commit crimes. Personality is a way of adapting to one's surroundings. According to 'Glueck,' doubts in daily child rebellion, pleasure in hurting others, emotional and social confusion, violent tendencies, incontinence, extroverted nature, etc.

  • Emotional instability: Emotional instability is the most critical psychological reason for a child to commit a crime. The lack of love and empathy, emotional insecurities, harsh discipline, feelings of inferiority and inadequacy, and a reaction to rebellion unbalance the boy's personality, leading the child to become a criminal businessman.

3.  Economic causes of child crimes:

Scholars differ about the economic causes and interrelationships of juvenile delinquency in India. George Bold and Healy believe that economic conditions lead to child abuse in most cases. In the context of India, it is closely related to financial status and child crime.

  • Poverty: Poverty is the mother of all evil. Privation is a significant cause of Juvenile Crime in India. Poor parents do not provide for the basic needs of their children. They start doing anti-social activities like theft, pocket money, smuggling, etc. research believes that poverty in India is the cause of poverty due to poverty. Children become soul glands. Their unconscious mind is driven to get all the facilities that the children of affluent families enjoy; For this, he uses illegal methods.

  • Family dispute: Studies have shown that the family environment and environment at home of child abusers are not good. One study reports that the child becomes the offender in a family, facing divorce, division, abandonment, and the parent’s death. Children become criminals when family members fight among themselves. In such families, the emotional balance of the children is not able to achieve their social development.

  • Starvation: Due to poverty, people cannot maintain themselves properly; In this case, starvation has to be faced. In such a situation, a hungry person can sin. Unruly children steal, rob, rob, etc. In this regard, Dr. Heckerwal has written, "Apes and starvation encourage a person to follow the simple and devious path of crime."

  • Employing children: Due to poverty, the family's minor children have to do small jobs to maintain themselves. Children from low-income families work in hotels, cinemas, shops, and wealthy families. After working there, they are gradually tempted to get rich quickly, resulting in an inferiority complex and mental stress. In such a situation, those children get involved in the bad habits of intoxication, smoking, gambling, theft, and prostitution. Children work as servants in metropolitan cities, working under the old servants, encouraging them to commit juvenile delinquency in India.

Main Objectives of The Juvenile Justice Act 2000:

  • To provide a specialized approach toward prevention and control of juvenile delinquency.
  • To come up with machinery and infrastructure for juvenile justice operations.
  • Establishing norms and standards for the administration of juvenile justice.

Reasons for the amendment in the JJ Act 2000:

  • Violation of Article 14: The amended law would contradict Article 14 of the Indian Constitution, which provides the right to equality as minors between the ages of 16 and 18 are not treated equally.
  • United Nations Convention on the Child’s Rights: The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child was ratified by India in 1992. According to this convention, all persons under 18 are children. This amended law makes special provisions for treating people aged 16-18 years as adults.
  • Lack of adequate psychologists: The provision in the Act is not based on the rule of law, and it will be based on the opinion of psychologists to determine what remains to be considered an adult. The field of psychology itself is ambiguous and not scientific. In addition, there are not enough psychologists in the country.
  • Violation of Article 21: This law violates the right to life and liberty as children’s rights are in the hands of the Juvenile Justice Board, and there is little or no knowledge of the proceedings.
  • NCRB data: Increase in crime committed by children in the age group of 16 to 18 years. According to the National Crime Records Bureau, heinous crimes committed by this age group have increased from 54% to 66% between 2003-2013.
  • Ambiguous and unfair: Some of the provisions providing punishment for child abuse are not based on the gravity of the offence. The law seeks to balance child rights and justice by not punishing juveniles with death and life imprisonment.
  • Delay in Adoption: The government amended the existing law dealing with children instead of the law, citing implementation issues and procedural delays with adoption.
  • Nirbhaya case: The main reason for the amendment of the 2000 Act in 2012 was the Delhi gang-rape case (Nirbhaya case). One of the perpetrators, in this case, was a 17-year-old, was tried under the juvenile justice board, and was sentenced to three years in a reform home. 

Juvenile Justice Act, 2015 Features:

The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) (JJ) Act, 2015, was passed by the Houses of Parliament and released on 15 January 2016. This Act brought several changes to the existing law to reform the rules and make the juvenile justice system more responsive to the changing circumstances of society. The Act seeks to hold a child accused of an offense accountable not through punishment but through counseling.

  • The Act amended in 2015 changed the term 'juvenile' to 'child' and 'child in conflict with the law.'
  • The Act defines orphans, surrendered, and abandoned children.
  • It also defines minor, serious, and heinous crimes committed by children.
  • A heinous crime under any existing law carries a maximum punishment of 7 years.
  • A serious offence can result in imprisonment of 3 to 7 years.
  • A minor offence can carry a maximum prison term of 3 years.
  • Provision for inclusion of new offenses committed against children. Any other laws in India do not cover these offenses.
  • The Act makes it mandatory for all child care institutions to be registered.
  • However, this changed with the 2015 revision. All children under the age of 18 will be treated equally. Merely except a departure from the norm, except in the case of heinous offences. Any minor between the ages of 16 and 18 accused of committing a heinous crime can be tried as an adult.
  • It provides a special provision that gives JJBs an option to transfer children between 16 and 18 who commit heinous crimes to the Bal Nyayalaya (court of sessions) after a preliminary assessment.
  • Statutory status has been given to the Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA).

Juvenile Justice Board: 

  • It is a judiciary body before which children detained or accused of any crime are brought.
  • It acts as a separate court for juveniles as they do not have to be taken to regular criminal court.
  • The Board consists of a Judicial Magistrate of the first class and two social workers, of whom at least one must be a woman. 
  • The Board is child-friendly and not intimidating for the kid.
  • The Juvenile Justice Board will assess the child's physical and mental abilities, their ability to understand the consequences of the crime, etc., and determine whether the child can be treated as an adult.

Child Welfare Committee:

  • The State Governments constituted these committees in the districts by the provisions of the Act.
  • The committees have the power to deal with the care, protection, treatment, development, and rehabilitation of children in need of care and safety and provide for their basic needs and security.
  • It makes it mandatory for all child care institutions to register.
  • An essential provision of the amended Act is that it provides for the treatment of minors in the age group of 16 to 18 years as adults in case of heinous offences.
  • The Act also gives the Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA) statutory status.
  • The Act differentiates between children in violation of the law and children in need of care and protection.

Positive Aspects of the Juvenile Justice Act, 2015:
The JJ Act of 2015 has several positive aspects. It was enacted to address the shortcomings in the previous law. Some of the essential benefits of this Act are as follows:

  • There is a clear distinction between children in violation of the law and children in need of protection and care.
  • It makes all Children’s Homes registration mandatory, bringing greater transparency and efficiency to the system.
  • It seeks to reduce crimes committed by 16 to 18-year-olds.
  • In the case of heinous crimes, there is a provision to try the children of 16 to 18 years as adults so that the victims of such crimes get justice.

Negative Aspects of the Juvenile Justice Act, 2015: 

There are also some negative aspects associated with the amended JJ Act. Some of the problems of law are discussed below:

  • Several psychological studies point to the vulnerability of children aged 16-18 due to hormonal and physiological changes. Treating crimes committed at this age as crimes and putting them in adult prisons can do more harm. In such an environment, the minor would have close contact with professional offenders, which would hinder their rehabilitation.
  • Treating minors between the ages of 16 to 18 violates Article 14 of the Constitution, giving equal rights to every citizen.
  • India ratified the United Nations Convention on the Child’s Rights in 1992. According to this convention, any person under 18 is to be treated like a child. This contradicts the amended law, which provides for treating children aged 16 to 18 years as adults.
  • A psychological evaluation assesses whether the minor can be treated as an adult. However, this may be subjective and may not be entirely scientific.

Governments of India make their efforts to improve the status of juvenile delinquency in India. Currently, juvenile delinquency has come down. However, some loopholes and problems need to be addressed. In the form of children, the government takes the initiative for good entertainment of sports competitions, etc. pornography and defamatory films have been banned. A child counseling center has been set up in each district. To provide and provide proper training to the personnel concerned. Prevention of juvenile delinquency requires coordination between government agencies, educational institutions, police, judiciary, social workers, and voluntary organizations.


The government of India is working to improve the situation in India when it comes to juvenile delinquency. Although juvenile delinquency has decreased in the past few years, specific issues need to be addressed. The government is taking steps to provide good entertainment for children, such as games and competitions, pornography, and illegal movies. Each district has a Child Guidance Center and offers appropriate training for the affected people. Punishment is forced to defend itself to maintain order without legalizing its effect on society, legalizing cruelty, and discouraging or facilitating the reformation of the offender. The moral rationale for punishment is its consequences, contribution to crime prevention, and criminal reintegration into society. It is based on a hypothesis that looks ahead. It assesses the future good that we can accomplish for the adolescent community. Juvenile delinquency prevention requires collaboration between government agencies, educational institutions, law enforcement, the courts, social workers, and non-profit groups.

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Leading causes of crime committed by children and related Act