Juvenile Justice Act- A shortcoming of Indian Judicial System
Q: Define criminal.
⇒The one who does any crime.
Q: How does criminal get punishment, any basis?
⇒ Ofcourse, level or a type of crime committed.
Q: Does every guilty get the same punishment even if a level of crime is exactly same?
⇒ This clinks my mind with a heavy sigh “NO”! Here comes ‘age factor’ where judicial system acts differently with the one under 18 yrs of age than the others above 18.
Crime rate is day by day increasing in India and the most shocking trend that can be noticed is that it is upheaving among Juveniles too. Newspapers and News channels are full of criminal cases of all sorts ranging from thefts to murder or smuggling to sexual crimes by them. But who are these so called Juveniles? They are humans below the age of 18. Also known as Minor. The verdict given to them is on the basis of Juvenile Justice Act which refers to the protection of two categories of children—
- Children in conflict with law
- Children in need of care and protection
So the act is basically for the protection, treatment and rehabilitation of juvenile who committed a crime due to some influential factors. They are sent to Juvenile homes where many services are provided such as health, education or vocational training so that they could live a healthy life when completed with punishment years.
But,a sensible question demands an answer that does a Juvenile Justice Act needs to be reformed? Is the verdict given as per age, a wise way neglecting a level of crime in case of Juveniles? Is the act given a freedom or an excuse to Minors for committing any level of crime? Yes, it does needs to be reformed! Juvenile Justice Act- A shortcoming of Indian Judicial System. It should not be adopted exactly same as in each case. Juvenile Delinquents who committed any murder or theft can be tolerable and send to rehabilitate in Juvenile Homes but what in case of brutal ‘RAPE’/ any other serious assault? The basis of verdict should not be wholly depend on age but a kind of crime should also be highlighted because crime they did is as per their maturity level. Today, 18 years of age is accepted globally by United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC). But in today’s time, world is growing and so the ideology and perception of minors too. Maturity factor now a days emerge in them around 15 only which is so early than defined maturity age of 18. Thus, this act alarmingly needs some amendments so as to move hand in hand with respect to growing evolution and reduce the upheaval of criminal cases. These days children above 15 are involved in such a height of crime which can’t be compared with the level of crime that adults commit. Now, they can be exactly matched with the adults. But punishment given to them is in respect of their age neglecting a type of crime they committed. This has urged me to congratulate them for getting a sideway to get rescued from the hard punishment they could get if ‘age’ would not be a basis. Now, they are well thorough with a fact that the Act facilitates them to commit any level of crime because punishment they could get at last would be just ‘sent to Juvenile Home’ for rehabilitation. Just like the case of Nirbhaya in Delhi where one guilty juvenile did the same serious crime as his other friend adults did BUT surprisingly he was just sent to a juvenile home considering him as a Juvenile while others were hanged to death.
JJ Act in other countries:
- U.K: A child of 10-18 years is held responsible for whatever crime he committed and verdict is given on the basis of offense he committed.
- France: A child of 10-13 years are punished by placing in a Special Centre while those of 13-16 years will get only half adult like punishments. Children of 16-18 years are punished just like an adults’.
JJ Act in India:
Justice for every Juvenile Delinquent is on the basis of age. Children upto 18 years are sent to the Juvenile Rehabilitation Centre neglecting a height of crime.
Juvenile Justice Act- A shortcoming of Indian Judicial System and I do believe that it is a high time to improve while keeping these points in mind:
- There must be a relaxation in age for around 15 or something nearer as per current maturity age of juveniles.
- Separate rules must be made according to a kind of crime. Such as in case of thefts, smuggling or any small level of crime, guilty should be pushed in Rehabilitation Centre for its grooming while serious assaults like brutal rape must be handled differently. An exception could also be made especially for this crime that they’ll be punished the same as adults because tis’ height of crime cannot be ignored.