Juvenile delinquency
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This article is written by Shweta Pathania, from Uttaranchal University (Law college) Dehradun.


“The children of today will make the India of tomorrow” – Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru

India is seeking a growth phase but the notable population boom alongside with rapid urbanization are combining to create large challenges this has contributed in giving upward thrust to crimes, violence, mob lynching and many social issues. Moreover, the digital world has added extra crime in the online world.

India is recognized as the “Youth Country” of the world. Undoubtedly the young people are the future builders of the nation. But these days the gradually changing way of lifestyle has grown to be so intricate that the traditional patterns guiding the relationship between family, school and kids have come to be pretty difficult and so complicated that such relations and the socialization ensured by the capacity of the way of social relationship are slowly collapsing. To forestall our nation’s future together we need to tackle the problem of “Juvenile Delinquency” which is a significant concern.

We need to first have a basic understanding of the term Juvenile Delinquency it is shaped by the aid of combination of two words: juvenile is beneath detention age to be called a grownup, delinquency in regular terms is a specific violation of a law or crook behavior by way of a minor. 

Children below 7 years of age are considered doli incapax under the Indian Penal Court. The act of taking part in illegal actions or negative behavior that may result in crime with the aid of a child of 7 to 18 years is termed as juvenile delinquency.

Generally one between 12 to 18 years is seen as an adolescent. An adolescent is usually immature socially and mentally. They generally have no aspirations. They are free from household obligations. Their attitudes are rigid and stern too. Delinquency characteristics tend to be perfect for the duration of early adolescence as it is the peak time for offences against teenagers. A juvenile is not totally accountable for his criminality. There are many causal factors contributing that are right now or circuitously in a way responsible for a minor to emerge as a juvenile.

Broadly the following factor contributes greater towards the juvenile delinquency:

1) Family environment: “what a child sees he learns”. The domestic surroundings is one of the fundamental element contributing closer to the behavioural approach of the children. Teens are immature and they are more inclined to making mistakes. There can be many problems including: lack of parental caring, broken family, single-parenting, household duties, lack of communication, financial status, lifestyle, conflict with siblings etc. Family is considered as the first and important educator of a toddler as he tends to learn many moral, ethical values from his family. Likewise, if a child witnesses domestic violence at home or acts against public policy he in fact genuinely tends to replicate the same. Family plays an essential function in grooming their personality. Peterson and Becker (1965) found that a significantly greater number of delinquents were from broken homes.

Parents are equally helpless on one side that in house they have one-two children at the most. They think they gave love, care and respect to the child, they think they gave him liberties that are a sort of contributing factor. 

2) The school environment and peer groups: The reality that the teenagers are extra inclined to their comparable age cannot be denied. Since their behavior, attitude, questioning process, lifestyle is very alike. Example: if a teen is no longer getting pocket money he steals money from his home simply to fulfill his wishes or to shape his status with his friends. Similarly, it is determined that many teenagers indulge in horrific habits due to the reality of their peer organizations atmosphere. Drug trafficking, stealing, eve-teasing and so forth are crimes which are learnt as well committed more in associations with peers.

The school surroundings to fail to furnish ethical education to the children. More emphasis is paid to mere mastering and recreational, co-curricular matters to do are now no longer given importance. They fail to create an ecosystem where teenagers can make contributions to healthy character development. 

3) Individual factors in combination with neighbourhood: Frustrations, impulsiveness, insecurity, fear, lack of self-control are some of the personality traits among the teens which are more common. Example – violent behaviour, use of drugs, aggressiveness, thefts etc are usually on the newspaper and other social networking sites.

After school, a toddler spends his time in the company of his friend circle in his neighborhood. It is usually observed that surroundings matter a lot and the neighbourhood is indispensable as it contributes a lot to the improvement of the child. For example: video play stations, picture houses and many others near the close by flip out to be centres of hang-outs and normally a toddler incorporates the anti-social forces from such surroundings.

4) Mass Media: “cinema is an exquisite escape from real life”. Cinema is often considered as an advantageous tool spreading the awareness it leaves a robust effect on young minds. On the other hand it is turning into a secondary tool contributing closer to juvenile delinquency. Youth are determined to use the cinema techniques to commit crimes. Generally, cinema tends to invoke day-dreaming, want for easy money-making, attracting to drugs and liquors, adventures, arousing sexual desires etc as cinema creates a massive impact. 

National Crime Record Bureau: from 5,412 illiterate juvenile offenders in 2016, the number has down to 4,324 in 2017 i.e educated juveniles commit crimes more than illiterate one in 2017. Total juvenile apprehended in Delhi 2,783 were found living with parents, guardians and some were homeless.  

The highest number of delinquencies committed by juveniles under the Indian Penal Code include: theft, burglary, robbery, dacoity i.e motivated by money. Research of Healy and Bronner(1936) found that 90% of delinquents compared to 13% of their non-delinquent siblings had unhappy home lives.

Few measures need our attention in this direction 

1) Focusing on education and training programmers for the adolescents: School is the 2nd most crucial institution after the family. So some initiatives is required on the part of schools:

  1. Nearly 80 to 90% of the children are even now not aware about this problem due to the reality they have no longer ever been taught about it in their school. They need to be taught regarding the delinquency. And it is completely possible through schools due to the fact school is the powerful medium we can attain out to the children.
  2. Exposure to school counseling is another solution and that has to happen before the crime happens.
  3. The co-curricular things to do choose out to be accompanied with the aid of weekly education competencies and craft sessions. This can be without a doubt advisable as a healthful environment will create the vicinity where  peer can take part and he can be encouraged through way of awards, gifts that will be useful in contributing a lot in mental change, it will work as a motivating factor and their wondering will to get diverted from dark thoughts.
  4. We are aware that each and every child is special in his very own way. On a fact groundwork do we understand the incredible brain or skills of a child? For occasion – a child can additionally be great at sketching, one might also be a right sportsman, or brilliant in academics etc. So the unique potentials of each and every teen is to be given due weightage and ought to now not be demoralised.

2) Areas where public awareness is needed:

  • Family 
  • Society

Family: In a country like India majority of the population comes from an uneducated background. Even it is found that educated people on occasion lack awareness. By way of media, legal aid institutions, campaigns, community programmes, classified advertisement and many others public center of attention can be channelised at distinctive level basically focusing on juvenile delinquency and it is repercussion on the teen, his family and the society. Due to lack of adequate consciousness parents are even not conscious about the hassle at primary stage they often fail to pay interest towards their infant altering mindset and behavior. 

“Humans are not robots” they do commit mistakes. So how can we assume the entirety to be in reality fine in all circumstances? In case of peers when the offence is now not of a serious nature for example: if one commits offence of pick-pocketing, steals money from home, indulges in smoking. Then why is it that society’s frame of mind toward him is awful? Why do they begin setting up a negative image against that peer? Why are the parents so concerned about the social stigma? Why is the family and society’s behaviour nearer to the child so rude and harsh that it almost makes him experience like a heinous criminal? These attitudes implant demoralisation, annoyance, impulsiveness among the teens which sooner or later end up ruining their future.

Society and parents need to apprehend that they are youthful minds and have now not reached a degree of maturity to fully know the penalties of their behavior. So on the other hand of being judgmental and harsh upon them or restrained from nearby and community functions they have to deal with them with care and love.

3) Youth participation: Youth are viewed as extra mature in phases of intellectual and social approach. They are mature in the sense that they have the ability to recognize consequences of act. So they can be a channel to instruct or guide the peer about juvenile delinquency. Since they have passed through a similar phase of life cycle and additionally the generation gap is not much so it will be easier to have a dialog involving the delinquency and establish accountability of such acts in addressing harm to the victimized party. In most of the conditions, it is observed that an infant often hesitates or he feels reluctant in sharing their emotions with their parents. The cause at the lower back of is usually believed to be a conflict of opinions between the two splendid generations. 

A platform desires to be developed where the teens and youth can have a healthy conversation, youth can share their experiences with the teenagers and there can be a two way communication. This can be really helpful in changing the attitude of teenagers as alternatively of sharing the thoughts with similar age they can express themselves before more experienced ones.

4) Counselling services and social work: free campaigns for imparting schooling about illicit drug use, enhancing marital status, imparting help to the poverty-stricken families, spreading attention concerning the significance of a healthy atmosphere of the home. Besides these programmes for runaway youngsters also want attention. Shelters need to give to such adolescents and troubles between the toddler and his parents want to unravel there. It is crucial that the government take up some measures for the welfare of youngsters for their better integration into community life.

Authorities initiative is required in the course of adequate counselling with aid of the child specialist and psychologist and month-to-month evaluation of juvenile corporations and the authority so appointed want to have a direct dialogue with inmates and analysing their problems.

Adult response toward the adolescents 

It is to comprehend that yes the aggression amongst the teenagers is growing whatever behaviour problems we see in children almost 80-90% are of violent conduct that is pronounced on school campuses. Many times it is viable that aggression converts into horrible things.

Another thing is how the adult population responds- it is anticipated from an adult to address the situation more sensibly and maturely than a mere child of 14-16 years old. We prefer to apprehend that until a teen turns into maturity until that time preference making is greater emotional. We need to realize how aggression in young people  is responded to by family members. Example: if spoken in an aggressive way the toddler learns that to manipulate aggression is extra aggression.

How to tackle children’s behavior at the initial stage?

The need is to tap the behavioral adjustments in the child before time. Parents need to consult a child or juvenile psychiatrist to see whether the child is going in a deteriorating manner and if so such a psychiatrist can suggest some solution. It is no longer possible that a toddler shows aggression except a background. So the first time he indicates aggression it wants to be channelised. It is the only way to address this massive issue.

Juvenile sex crime and role of technology 

Sexually abusive behavior by means of a juvenile might also be due to reasons such as aggression, exploitation manipulation and for threatening purposes. In accordance to records reachable it is discovered that about 30 to 60% of all child sexual abuse cases are linked to juveniles.

Technology and effect of technology give birth to new terminology known as cyber  psychology. These days teenagers are uncovered to sexual content everywhere whether or not it be television, net, video games or other sources. After continuous watching television or mobile handling their behavior changes. This giant quantity of sexual statistics leads to confusion and incongruous behaviour among the teenagers.

Some of juvenile sexual crimes include : child molestation, sexting, voyeurism, indecent liberties and others. 

Amendment in Juvenile Justice Care and Protection Act 2015

Under the act, the age from 18 years is reduced to 16 years when a juvenile is tried as an adult. The Indian Express referred to two younger adults of 16 years have been sentenced to life imprisonment for murder through session courtroom in Jhabua, Madhya Pradesh.

Do a juvenile deserve a second chance? 

We have witnessed the brutal “Nirbhaya Case” where one of the culprits was 17 years old. So, the desire for such change was to be once required due to the fact just by way of capability of being minor they can not be let to get away from their liabilities of a heinous crime. They ought to be held in charge of their crime for these separate corrective homes, remand homes, juvenile courts have to take tough measures in opposition to them. Heinous crime along with rapes, homicide is something that is very traumatic and unbearable at any cost. A juvenile though needs care and attention but in such grave offences he can no longer definitely easily escape with the aid of carrying a tag of a minor.

On the other hand for petty crimes, the reply is yes, it is no longer proper to say that a wrongdoer or juvenile living in community he continues to be a threat to it. Condemning someone to a life barring probation i.e. without getting a chance to exhibit that he can continue to be as a law-abiding member of society and besides parole is morally reprehensible and defines our experience of justice. 

Reformative approach for delinquencies 

Reformative theory is available for the first time offenders and petty offenders. Juvenile homes, parole, probation homes, furlough are few examples of reformative measures.The aim behind this theory is to reform the unlawful behavior of criminals. 

“Every saint has a past and every sinner has a future”- Justice Krishna Iyer. Example: Saint Valmiki.

What can be done to reform a juvenile? 

  • In juvenile homes it is the accountability of the authorities to furnish them education offerings for artwork, expertise training programmes, co-curricular activity and services health-care under managed discipline.
  • In case an inmate shows enhancement in behavior they can be given liberty for going to the nearby markets with the supervision of a deputy superintendent or probation officer.
  • Convenices to inmates for communicating with family, friends along with it organising household gathering for them. 
  • Safety offerings at some point of institutionalisation in opposition to aggressive inmates, homosexual assaults and so forth.


The consequences of juvenile delinquency are usually terrible. Teenager’s vibrant future can be ruined and it can get them into jails or juvenile homes.The judgemental nature of society we cannot help it. It is often determined that one who commits such illegal or immoral acts people begin framing sorts of opinions about that peer and later it turns into very difficult for juvenile and his family to continue to exist in such surrounding.So, it must normally remembered that a offence is committed by means of one member however the consequences of it the whole family has to bear.

Need for a change

Barring the want for change in the law enforcement there is also a want for change in the mindset of attitudes of society and juvenile families. Although the observation homes are supposed for the juveniles. If systematic planning is followed through training, public consciousness by way of NGOs, voluntary organizations, legal aid institutions given to families the growing cases of delinquency can be combated.

Conversation with non-delinquents is indispensable for knowing their environment especially at homes and relations with peer groups this can be quite advisable understanding the key elements lacking in the ecosystem of delinquencies.

Why is public awareness needed? 

Increasing instances of crimes by way of the delinquencies are the very reason for public awareness. Since there is a lot of lack of attention and understanding amongst the people and as well the adolescents because of this very reason they are not alert to the problems. Example of public awareness includes schools, social media, public gatherings and campaigns etc. 

How public awareness can be achieved?

1) The best alternative to unfold delinquency consciousness is to deeply root it in the education system.

This can be made possible by:

  • Awareness at the primary school level to impart elementary knowledge: toddler minds are at developing stage; they should be taught ethical values at the very essential stage itself so in later life they can be good decision-makers.
  • The relevance of real-life conditions at secondary school level: we are witnessing drug possession, underage smoking, gang violence, child molestation and many others are some of the actual life situations. With the assistance of such examples, the students can be made to understand about juvenile delinquency. Observation homes, borstal schools are some examples to make young minds conscious about the repercussions of delinquencies.

2) Awareness through green marketing and green media: in today’s scenario one or the other person is either directly or in a roundabout way related to social media sites. It is an old saying that “rumours unfold extra rapidly than a wildfire.” Similarly these days the mass media has emerged as an excellent channel for spreading any variety of data at a massive level.


Have we ever wondered why youngsters inclining increased closer to acts in opposition to public coverage or felonies? The reason in the back of is very obvious and apparent in front of our eyes however it appears like sometimes we pretend to be blindfolded. 

Yes, it is not conceivable to retain an eye upon a child on his every single move. We can go for a more practicable solution.”A toddler requires personal care and love” and solely the mother and father in the world are extremely effective remedies regarding this concern. They can entirely forestall their infant from stepping into such a bog.

A small initiative is required from both sides. Parents and their kids ought to at least try to apprehend each other’s perspectives by spending quality time together. Parents are more mature and experienced than adolescents however at some difficulty of time they need to attempt to understand their infant feelings and the child needs to be given a chance to give an explanation for himself. 

This can be manageable with the parent-child interaction programmes stimulated by capacity of way of schools and close by NGO where positive and healthy interaction choose to be promoted aiming at resolving their problems. Children have to be given a chance to share sentiments on their personal conditions beforehand than their mother and father accompanied with the aid of way of psychologist, social worker and delinquency experts. Under these programmes emphasis should be paid upon the importance of verbal exchange between the parents and their children. This can be advisable in lowering hyperactivity, aggression, anxious behavior in children

Apart from this, the household requires massive attention. Broken families, awful families, undisciplined, inadequate households want to be reorganised, until an appropriate environment is supplied we cannot forestall emotionally disturbed childhood from developing a relationship with delinquents. 

A sound public policy with the prevention strategies and joint effort of teen’s family and contributors from experts dealing with juveniles can be without a doubt advisable in controlling the lengthened situations of juvenile delinquency in India.


1) Michael Cole, Sheila R Cole “The development of children”,3rd edition. 

2) Paul Maxim, Paul C and Whitehead “Youth in conflict with law”,3rd edition. 

3) Available at: https://theprint.in/india/education-juveniles-crimes-more-illiterate-ones-2017-ncrb/310527/

4) Ram Ahuja “Criminology” Rawat Publications, Edition 2015.

5) Stephen Hupp “Child and Adolescent Psychotherapy”, Cambridge University Press Publisher, 2018.

6) Clea Mc Neely, Jayne Blanchard “The teen years explained: a guide to healthy adolescent development”.

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