Juvenile Delinquency in India


Juvenile delinquency is the involvement of minors in criminal activities. A person’s behaviour is defined as “delinquent” when he deviates from the normal course of his social life. In other words, a criminal delinquent is someone whose acts are dangerous to society and to himself. Running away from home, using inappropriate or vulgar words, committing sexual offences, and other acts of delinquency are examples of delinquency.

A juvenile is a teen who has broken such rules, declaring his act or failure to be a crime. In civil words, the terms juvenile and minor are used differently. The word juvenile is used to describe a young criminal offender, while minor refers to a person’s legal capacity.


Factors associated with youth crimes and delinquencies are strikingly similar across nations. The international data suggests that family disadvantage leads to educational disadvantage which in turn leads to underachievement, economic marginality and ultimately to social exclusion. In Asian countries juvenile crime and delinquency are largely urban phenomenon. Statistically as elsewhere, young people constitute the most criminally active segment of the population. The most noticeable trend. In the region are in the rise in number of violent acts committed by young people, the increase in the drug related offences and the marked growth in female juvenile delinquency.


In developing countries, extensive industrialization and economic growth have led to the mushrooming of slums in the urban areas which later become the breeding grounds for juvenile delinquents. This is true of all countries irrespective of pace and nature of development. The slums in all cities are particularly considered as overcrowded, seriously congested and set amongst filth. From this social culture of the slums, a sub culture develops. This sub-culture is based on social disintegration of the community life and development of the criminal attitudes. They are reflected in the social ills of the crime, prostitution, drug abuse.


Juvenile delinquency can also be related to absence or refuse to acquire of education. Most delinquents perform poor in their studies and unhappy with the school environment. Many delinquents are drop outs who leave studies at an early age and also don’t have job opportunities. Available records leave that illiteracy is one of the major cause of juvenile delinquency in India and the same is evident from the fact that 77.9 per cent of all juvenile offenders were either illiterate or below primary level of schooling and 11.5 were above primary level but below the higher secondary level. Thus, one of the reason for increasing delinquent behaviour is lack of education level in the country.


Poverty contributes a lot to the delinquency of a child. Some analysts have opined that poverty and delinquency are the concomitants of each other and this view is supported by unvarying graph lines of juvenile crimes in poverty driven areas. In India , poor parents go out and slog their whole day in work. to earn their bread leaving the hungry children in house who may die due to starvation and if he survives, he seeks an ability to earn honest living and naturally adopts unfair means.


In developed nations, the ongoing wave of urbanisation is leading to juvenile delinquent conduct. The fundamental characteristics of the urban climate promote the emergence of new modes of social activity, largely due to the breakdown of primary social ties and power, increased dependence on the media at the cost of informal contact, and the movement toward anonymity. In the urban environment, greater population density, degree of variation, and numbers of people produce these trends. According to geographic research, countries with more urbanised populations have higher reported crime rates than countries with strong rural lives and cultures. Differences in social regulation and social stability may be to blame. According to the study, the socioeconomic context of metropolitan environments has an important impact on delinquency rates. According to this interpretation of social ecology, social processes working within impoverished urban environments contribute to the development of circumstances conducive to substance addiction, delinquency, and other types of law violations.


The value of family well-being is becoming a more commonly known method for reducing juvenile delinquency. According to studies, children who are well supervised by their parents are less likely to partake in illegal behaviour. However, recent developments show that the family as a social unit is experiencing major shifts, including an uptick in one-parent households and non-marital unions. Juvenile delinquency is strongly linked to dysfunctional family conditions, which are marked by tension, insufficient parental supervision, poor internal linkages and integration, and premature sovereignty. Offenders are overrepresented in children from low-income backgrounds that have little options for legal jobs and are at risk of social exclusion. The criminalization of the family has an impact on delinquent trajectories as well. According to statistics, households engaging in illegal activity encourage their children to break the law.


The ‘cult of heroes,’ which seeks justice through the violent destruction of rivals, has been popularised thanks to television and film. Many studies have shown that young people who see violence are more hostile or violent themselves, particularly when provoked. Individuals are influenced by the media in three ways: First, films showing violent activities excite viewers, and this aggressive energy will then be translated to daily life, inspiring people to participate in physical action on the street.

Second, society is very accepting of young people’s mistakes; Finally, in the case of such crimes, proving the requisite mental status against a minor would be impossible.


Prior to juvenile justice act 1986 , enacted by the parliament to provide care, protection, treatment, development and rehabilitation to neglected and delinquent juveniles. The juvenile justice act, 1960 was operative throughout the country hence juvenile justice act, 2000 was enacted. Later the juvenile justice (care and protection of children) act, 2000 came into force on 30th December 2000 as the primary legal framework for juvenile justice in India.

  • Delhi gang rape case

The Supreme Court affirmed the death sentences of three of the four defendants in the 2012 Delhi gangrape case on Monday. The appeals of Mukesh (29), Pawan Gupta (22) and Vinay Sharma (23) were rejected by a bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra, who said the convicts had failed to figure out “error” in the judgement.

The court went on to say that the convicts had been thoroughly heard during the appeals process and that no basis for a reversal of the decision had been presented. Akshay Kumar Singh (31), the fourth defendant, did not file a motion for a new trial. “Akshay has not submitted a review petition yet,” said A P Singh, who represents Akshay Kumar Singh. We’re going to file it.” The court went on to say that the convicts had been thoroughly heard during the appeals process and that no basis for a reversal of the decision had been presented. Akshay Kumar Singh (31), the fourth defendant, did not file a motion for a new trial. “Akshay has not submitted a review petition yet,” said A P Singh, who represents Akshay Kumar Singh. We’re going to file it.”

Last year, the Supreme Court affirmed the death sentences handed down by the Delhi High Court and the trial court in the gangrape and murder of a 23-year-old paramedic student in the national capital on December 16, 2012. Although one of the defendants, Ram Singh, reportedly committed suicide in Tihar prison, another defendant, a juvenile, was acquitted by the juvenile justice board and released from a reformation home after three years.

In the wake of Delhi gang rape case (16 December 2012) this law suffered a nationwide criticism owing to its helplessness against crimes where juveniles gets involved in heinous crimes like rape and murder but, cannot be tried. The juvenile justice bill 2014 was the passed by the parliament in December 2015 and came into force on 15th January 2016. Under this act 1986 , Section 2(a) defined the term juvenile is a “boy who has not attained the age of 16 years and the girl who not attained the age of 18 years”.

  • Juvenile justice (care and protection of children) act, 2000

The act seeks to consolidate and modify the law relating to juveniles in conflict with the law and children in need of care and protection, by providing for proper care, protection and treatment by cateringto their development needs and by adopting a child friendly approach in the adjudication and disposition of matters in the best interest of children.

Sections 9 to 12 of the Juvenile Justice Act facilitates the Government to establish Juvenile Homes, Special Homes, Observation Homes and After Care Organisations respectively for the Juveniles. For the betterment of the children the Juvenile Justice Act,2000 has introduced Special Trial Process. Section 3 : If an inquiry has been initiated against a juvenile and if during the course of which he ceases to be a juvenile then the inquiry may be continued as if he had been a juvenile.

Section 4 :- The state Government can constitute one or more juvenile welfare boards for discharging the duties conferred upon them in relation to the neglected juveniles under this Act.

 Section 5 : the state Govt. to constitute one or more Juvenile courts for exercising the power conferred upon such court in relation to delinquent juveniles under this Act.

 Section 6 : This section provides that a person appointed as a member of the Board or as a Magistrate shall possess special knowledge of child psychology and child welfare.

Section 7: This section asks the Board or the Juvenile Court to hold its proceedings in a room which is different from the ordinary setting if a civil or criminal court.

Section 29: This section allows a guardian or parents who have a certain extend of control over the child to be present at the court thus providing the child with the mental support that he needs and destroying the feeling of loneliness that may engulf the child.


Prevention is necessary for such children. Firstly, indication of such juveniles and then providing them with required treatment is of utmost importance. These adolescents become habitual offenders if not timely stopped from committing offences. Moreover, the most effective way to prevent juvenile delinquency has indubitably been to assist children and their family from the very beginning. The state program attempts an early intervention, allowing groups, to tackle this problem in number of ways. There are many jurists and criminologists who suggest various provisions for the prevention of juvenile delinquency. Some of the provisions that are very useful for the welfare, development and growth of the juveniles has been mentioned below.

In the economic sector, professional development programmes should be undertaken to provide legal alternatives for income generation.

• In the developing countries like India, the State should undertake to see that the benefits of economic development are not confined to certain class/classes, so as to create economic disparity rather there should be even distribution of benefits of the economic development.

• The educational system in India, which mainly aims at generation of white-collard jobs, should be remodelled to cater to the talents of all categories laying greater stress on imparting vocational education.

• Steps should be taken to establish a wide range of recreational facilities and services of particular interest to young persons and the same should be made easily accessible to them as recommended by the Riyadh Guidelines.

• There is growing awareness about the indispensable role of family as a primary institution of socialisation and a crucial agency in the prevention of child and juvenile delinquency. Thus, greater attention should be paid on the well-being of families of troubled youth, including those young people with serious behaviour problems.

• Special programmes should be undertaken to tackle the problems of unaccompanied and homeless children, including rehabilitation schemes that take the children off the stress.


  1. Sanyukta Singh, (Vol. 109 ) , Juvenile Justice in India : A Critique
  2. NCRB, “Juvenile in conflict with law” Crimes in India at 128, available At: http://www.ncrb.gov.in/StatPublications/CH/CII2013/Chapters/10Juvenile  
  3. Dr. Nuzhat Parveen Khan, (Vol. X , 2009) “Constitutional and Legal Rights of the Child” 44 Naya Deep  
  4. December 16 gang rape case available at : https://indianexpress.com/article/india/december-16-gangrape-case-live-updates-supreme-court-death-penalty-review-plea-5251858/
  5. Juvenile delinquency in India cause and precaution available at : http://www.legalserviceindia.com/legal/article-1724-juvenile-delinquency-in-india-causes-and-prevention-.html
  6. Juvenile delinquency a socio legal study available at: https://www.scconline.com/Members/MySCCOnlineFolderView.aspx

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