IASbaba’s Daily Current Affairs – 21st December, 2015
TOPIC: General Studies 2
Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections; Governance Issues
Juvenile Justice in India: Rehabilitating Indian Juveniles
Nature of Juvenile Justice in India
Due to the sensitive nature of crimes, circumstances, neither names nor any information regarding the identity of juveniles is supposed to be made public by police, courts or other bodies like the media
Juveniles are apprehended and not arrested by police in the event of an FIR
They are sent to correctional homes for stipulated periods of time which can go up to a maximum period of 3 years.
The crimes they have committed in the years prior to adulthood never feature in their records or police clearance certificates.
Most contentious amendment
Proposal that the minimum age for a child to be placed in the adult criminal justice system should be lowered from the current 18 years to 16 years for certain crimes
Matters will be presented to the Juvenile Justice Board on a case-by-case basis, which will then decide — based on an assessment of the mental state of the child — whether the crime was committed with/without an understanding of its consequences.
Reasons behind the increase in crimes like rape:
Poverty leads to no school, and a high drop-out rate
Broken families and lack of support system
Biased gender perspective in the mind-set (women’s ‘only’ role)
Unregulated access to Pornography
Spending of several hours of the day in the company of adult anti-social elements and getting inducted into the world of crime
Lack of nuanced system of registration and recording of cases
In Favour of the Amendment- Why?
Guidance by the shelter homes is an act which does not guarantee real learning to the conscience of the guilty, to be responsive towards a different mind-set, notion and thought processes altogether, at one go
No proof of deterrence established as they go back into the same setting from where they had come from
The loosened grip ignores the intensity and severity of the crime committed on the pretext of them being juvenile for which another girl pays the price of her life
Generation gap and technology gap seems to have mixed up enormously and there exists no veil between the two; ignorance of the maturity and the knowledge disseminated needs to be taken into account and not the age-old mind-set of a particular age group largely being innocent. Globalisation has not just crossed borders, innocence as well has.
Criticism of the Proposed Amendment
Juvenile justice system actually provides an alternative system for trial and punishment of juveniles in keeping with their age, physical and emotional status.
Children act anti-socially or break the rules of law mainly because of neglect, abuse and poverty and there exists no innate human propensities that transform the child into a criminal beyond redemption
No Adult Justice System:
Proofs have been established that transferring children to the adult justice and prison system does not reduce crime but increases recidivism as it exposes these children to hardened criminals
The brain is not completely developed till one is in one’s mid-20s and young adults are actually more susceptible to peer pressure, and relatively unstable in emotionally charged situations.
Proofs that more rehabilitative juvenile justice systems have repeatedly been found to lead to lower re-arrest rates than the adult system, and, therefore, result in lowering overall crime numbers.
National Crime Records Bureau data:
Indicates that children from the marginalised sections of society will suffer the most (as over 55 per cent children in the juvenile justice system come from families from the lowest income bracket) if these amendments get passed
Manifold impact on a number of young boys in consensual relationships, as they may face incarceration in the adult prison system if their partner’s parents decide to file a case against them under the proposed law
The lack of efforts in ensuring the effective implementation of the envisaged ecosystem for rehabilitating children through various institutions: Contributor towards the rise in the crime
Violates India’s mandate and constitutional obligations: United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child
A pragmatic view of the law needs to be taken up and a case-by-case basis needs to be holistically engrained in the juvenile Justice system
Development of individual care plan has to be developed for the rehabilitation and reintegration of the child
Segregation of the inmates according to age and behavioural pattern
Upgradation of Security by installing CCTV cameras, perimeter cordon and increasing the number of watchtowers and other proposed steps
Inmates with serious behavioural issues need to be given proper attention and special care
Psychological support and direction of energy in better way: Family visits and involvement in extra-curricular activities(dance, yoga, sports)
National Crime Records Bureau data:
1 per cent of cases against juveniles were pending disposal in courts while seven per cent cases resulted in acquittals or were disposed of
Juveniles apprehended for alleged crimes in 2014 stood at 48,230 (5,000 more than those apprehended in 2013)
Total number of cases registered under various sections of the IPC or Special and Local Laws (SLL): 38,565.
Number of rape cases registered against juveniles: Approximately 2,000
Cases of molestation: roughly 1,576
Cases of causing grievous injury:1,576
Theft ranked highest: 6,705
States which saw the highest number of juveniles accused of and apprehended for rape in 2014:
Madhya Pradesh (343),
Uttar Pradesh (176)
Delhi stood at 120
Registered cases of murder by juveniles was highest: Maharasthra at 121 followed by Madhya Pradesh at (94)
Connecting the Dots:
Should the Juvenile Justice Act be amended? Critically examine
Does the current system serve the purpose of rehabilitation or deterrence against future crime? Discuss
For more information on ‘Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 (Pocso Act)’ related to child abuse, refer the below link-