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Q. Discuss the causes of Juvenile Delinquency. Who is a child in need of care and protection? State the procedure followed by Juvenile Justice Court. State the orders that can be passed for delinquent children under this act. Describe the main features of Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection) Act, 2000. What protections are given by the legislature and the judiciary to juvenile delinquents?

Causes of Juvenile Delinquency
Common sense stuff

Reasons for enacting this act -
WHEREAS the Constitution has, in several provisions, including clause (3) of article 15, clauses (e) and (f) of article 39, articles 45 and 47, impose on the State a primary responsibility of ensuring that all the needs of children are met and that their basic human rights are fully protected;
AND WHEREAS, the General Assembly of the United Nations has adopted the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the 20th November, 1989;
AND WHEREAS, the Convention on the Rights of the Child has prescribed a set of standards to be adhered to  by all State parties in securing the best interests of the child;
AND WHEREAS, the Convention on the Rights of the Child emphasizes social reintegration of child victims, to the extent possible, without resorting to judicial proceedings;
AND WHEREAS, the Government of India has ratified the Convention on the 11th December, 1992.
AND WHEREAS, it is expedient to re-enact the existing law relating to juveniles bearing in mind the standards prescribed in the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Administration of Juvenile Justice, 1985 (the Beijing rules), the United Nations Rules for the Protection of Juveniles Deprived of their Liberty (1990), and all other relevant international instruments.
BE it enacted by Parliament in the Fifty-first Year of the Republic of India as follows:-

Art 15(3) -  State can make any special provision for women and children.
Art 39 (e) - It shall be the duty of the state to ensure that the health and strength of workers, men and women, and the tender age of children are not abused and that citizens are not forced by economic necessity to enter avocations unsuited to their age or strength;
Art 39 (f) - It shall be the duty of the state to ensure that children are given opportunities and facilities to develop in a healthy manner and in conditions of freedom and dignity and that childhood and youth are protected against exploitation and
against moral and material abandonment.
Art 45/Now Art 21A - The State shall endeavor to provide, within a period of ten years from the commencement of this Constitution, for free and compulsory education for all children until they complete the age of fourteen years.
Art 47 - The State shall regard the raising of the level of nutrition and the standard of living of its people and the improvement of public health as among its primary duties and, in particular, the State shall endeavor to bring about prohibition of the consumption except for medicinal purposes of intoxicating drinks and of drugs which are injurious to health.
Art 51(k) - It shall be the duty of the citizen of India who is a parent or guardian to provide opportunities for education to his child or, as the case may be, ward between the age of six and fourteen years.

Child in need of care and protection [OPMUNEVACCC]
As per Section 2(d), "child in need of care and protection" means a child -
  1. who is found without any home or settled place or abode and without any ostensible means of subsistence,
  2. who resides with a person (whether a guardian of the child or not) and such person has threatened to kill or injure the child and there is a reasonable likelihood of the threat being carried out, or has killed, abused or neglected some other child or children and there is a reasonable likelihood of the child in question being killed, abused or neglected by that person,
  3. who is mentally or physically challenged or ill children or children suffering from terminal diseases or incurable diseases having no one to support or look after,
  4. who has a parent or guardian and such parent or guardian is unfit or incapacitated to exercise control over the child,
  5. who does not have parent and no one is willing to take care of or whose parents have abandoned him or who is missing and run away child and whose parents cannot be found after reasonable inquiry,
  6. who is being or is likely to be grossly abused, tortured or exploited for the purpose of sexual abuse or illegal acts,
  7. who is found vulnerable and is likely to be inducted into drug abuse or trafficking,
  8. who is being or is likely to be abused for unconscionable gains,
  9. who is victim of any armed conflict, civil commotion or natural calamity;
Neglected Child
The term neglected child has been removed from the current JJA and has been replaced with "Child in need of care and protection" defined above. The old act defines "neglected juvenile" as a juvenile who-
(i) is found begging; or
(ii) is found without having any home or settled place of abode and without any ostensible means of subsistence and is destitute;
(iii) has a parent or guardian who is unfit or incapacitated to exercise control over the juvenile; or
(iv) lives in a brothel or with a prostitute or frequently goes to any place used for the purpose of prostitution, or is found to associate with any prostitute or any other person who leads an immoral, drunken or depraved life;
(v) who is being or is likely to be abused or exploited for immoral or illegal purposes or unconscionable gain;

Section 2(k) - "juvenile" or "child" means a person who has not completed eighteenth year of age;
Section 2(l) - "juvenile in conflict with law" means a juvenile who is alleged to have committed an offence;
Section 2(b) - "Begging" means -
    i. soliciting or receiving alms in a public place or entering into any private premises for the purpose of soliciting or receiving alms, whether under any pretence;
    ii. exposing or exhibiting with the object of obtaining or extorting alms, any sore, wound, injury, deformity or disease, whether of himself orof any other person or of an animal;

Composition and Procedure followed by Juvenile Justice Court.

Composition
As per Section 4
(1) The State Government may constitute for a district or a group of districts specified in the notification, one or more Juvenile Justice Boards for exercising the powers and discharging the duties conferred or imposed on such Boards in relation to juveniles in conflict with law under this act.

(2) A Board shall consist of a Metropolitan Magistrate or a Judicial Magistrate of the first class, as the case may be, and two social workers of whom at least one shall be a woman, forming a Bench and every such Bench shall have the powers
conferred by the Code of Criminal Procedure,on a Metropolitan Magistrate or, as the case may be, a Judicial Magistrate of the first class and the Magistrate on the Board shall be designated as the principal Magistrate.

(3) No Magistrate shall be appointed as a member of the Board unless he has special knowledge or training in child psychology or child welfare and no social worker shall be appointed as a member of the Board unless he has been actively involved in health, education, or welfare activities pertaining to children for at least seven years.

(4) The term of office of the members of the Board and the manner in which such member may resign shall be such as may be prescribed.

(5) The appointment of any member of the Board may be terminated after holding inquiry, by the State Government, if -
i. he has been found guilty of misuse of power vested under this act,
ii. he has been convicted of an offence involving moral turpitude, and such conviction has not been reversed or he has not been granted full pardon in respect of such offence,
iii. he fails to attend the proceedings of the Board for consecutive three months without any valid reason or he fails to attend less than three fourth of the sittings in a year.

Section 5 - Procedure
(1) The Board shall meet at such times and shall, observe such rules of procedure in regard to the transaction of business at its meetings, as may be prescribed.
(2) A child in conflict with law may be produced before an individual member of the Board, when the Board is not sitting.
(3) A Board may act notwithstanding the absence of any member of the Board, and no order made by the Board shall be invalid by reason only of the absence of any member during any stage of proceedings: Provided that there shall be at least two members including the principal Magistrate present at the time of final disposal of the case.
(4) In the event of any difference of opinion among the members of the Board in the interim or final disposition, the opinion of the majority shall prevail, but where there is no such majority, the opinion of the principal Magistrate, shall prevail.

Section 6 - Powers of the Board
(1) Where a Board has been constituted for any district or a group of districts, such Board shall, have power to deal exclusively with all proceedings under this Act, relating to juvenile in conflict with law.
(2) The powers conferred on the Board by or under this Act may also be exercised by the High Court and the Court of Session, when the proceedings comes before them in appeal, revision or otherwise.


Orders that can be passed for delinquent children

Section 15 - Orders that may be passed regarding a Juvenile


1. Where a Board is satisfied on inquiry that a juvenile has committed an offence, then notwithstanding anything to the contrary contained in any other law for the time being in force, the Board may, if it thinks so fit,-
(a) allow the juvenile to go home after advice or admonition following appropriate inquiry against and counseling to the parent or the guardian and the juvenile;
(b) direct the juvenile to participate in group counseling and similar activities;
(c) order the juvenile to perform community service;
(d) order the parent of the juvenile or the juvenile himself to pay a fine, if he is over fourteen years of age and earns money;
(e) direct the juvenile to be released on probation of good conduct and placed under the care of any parent, guardian or other fit person, on such parent, guardian or other fit person executing a bond, with or without surety, as the Board may require, for the good behavior and well-being of the juvenile for any period not exceeding three years;
(f) direct the juvenile to be released on probation of good conduct and placed under the care of any fit institution for the good behavior and well-being of the juvenile for any period not exceeding three years;
(g) make an order directing the juvenile to be sent to a special home,-
i. in the case of juvenile, over seventeen years but less than eighteen years of age for a period of not less than two years;
ii. in case of any other juvenile for the period until he ceases to be a juvenile :
Provided that the Board may, if it is satisfied that having regard to the nature of the offence and the circumstances of the case it is expedient so to do, for reasons to be recorded, reduce the period of stay to such period as it thinks fit.

2. The Board shall obtain the social investigation report on juvenile either through a probation officer or a recognized voluntary organization or otherwise, and shall take into consideration the findings of such report before passing an order.

3. Where an order under clause (d), clause (e) or clause (f) of sub-section (1) is made, the Board may, if it is of opinion that in the interests of the juvenile and of the public, it is expedient so to do, in addition make an order that the juvenile in conflict with law shall remain under the supervision of a probation officer named in the order during such period, not exceeding three years as may be specified therein, and may in such supervision order impose such conditions as it deems necessary for the due supervision of the juvenile in conflict with law .
Provided that if at any time afterwards it appears to the Board on receiving a report from the probation officer or otherwise, that the juvenile in conflict with law has not been of good behavior during the period of supervision or that the fit institution under whose care the juvenile was placed is no longer able or willing to ensure the good behavior and well-being of the juvenile it may, after making such inquiry as it deems fit, order the juvenile in conflict with law to be sent to a special home.
The Board shall while making a supervision order under sub-section (3), explain to the juvenile and the parent, guardian or other fit person or fit institution, as the case may be, under whose care the juvenile has been placed, the terms and conditions of the order shall forthwith furnish one copy of the supervision order to the juvenile, the parent, guardian or other fit person or fit institution, as the case may be, the sureties, if any, and the probation officer.

In case of Municipal Corporation of Delhi vs Rattanlal, 1971, it was held that while allowing the release of a juvenile, the court should consider the following - circumstances of the case, circumstances of the accused, age, and family background.

Section 16 Orders that may not be passed against a Juvenile
(1) Notwithstanding anything to the contrary contained in any other law for the time being in force, no juvenile in conflict with law shall be sentenced to death or life imprisonment, or committed to prison in default of payment of fine or in default of
furnishing security :
Provided that where a juvenile who has attained the age of sixteen years has committed an offence and the Board is satisfied that the offence committed is of so serious in nature or that his conduct and behavior have been such that it would not be in his interest or in the interest of other juvenile in a special home to send him to such special home and that none of the other measures provided under this Act is suitable or sufficient, the Board may order the juvenile in conflict with law
to be kept in such place of safety and in such manner as it thinks fit and shall report the case for the order of the State Government.
(2) On receipt of a report from a Board under sub-section (1), the State Government may make such arrangement in respect of the juvenile as it deems proper and may order such juvenile to be kept under protective custody at such place and on such conditions as it thinks fit :
Provided that the period of detention so ordered shall not exceed the maximum period of imprisonment to which the juvenile could have been sentenced for the offence committed.

In Rejesh Kheton vs State of W B, 1983, it was observed that the main object of the provision contained in Section 16 of the act is to prevent the juvenile from the contact of hardened criminals so that they are saved from contamination.

In Sheela Barse vs U of I, AIR 1986, it was held that juveniles should not be held in jail but in Shelter Homes.


Observation Home -  Section 8
Special Home - Section 9
Bail to Juvenile - Section 12

Protections given by the legislature and the judiciary to juvenile delinquents

Protection by Legislature - The legislature has enacted several laws for the protection of Juveniles. Most important among them is Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection) Act, 2000.

Legal Protection
Through Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection) Act, 2000, several measures have been adopted to ensure that a juvenile is not punished or treated like hardened criminals. Some of the measures are -
  1. Hearing of cases involving juvenile by Juvenile Justice Board
  2. Bail Provisions for juvenile
  3. No prison term to juvenile.
  4. No joint proceeding of Juvenile and Non Juvenile
  5. Removal of disqualification attached to conviction
Social Protection
Juvenile Justice Act also contains measures to ensure that a juvenile in conflict of law is given opportunities to reform.
  1. Establishment of Observation and Special Home
  2. Education and Training facilities
Preventive Measures
  1. Several acts such as employment of juveniles in dangerous activities, forcing juveniles to beg, or steal, or giving intoxicating substances to a juvenile, publication of names or other details of a juvenile in conflict of law in media, have been made cognizable offences by JJA.
  2. Supervision by Probation Officer to ensure that a juvenile is not influenced by bad elements.
Several other acts such as Factories Act, 1948 include provisions for protection of Juveniles.

Constitutional Provisions
Article 21A - Right to education
Article 24 Prohibition of employment of children in factories, etc.  No child below the age of fourteen years shall be employed to work in any factory or mine or engaged in any other hazardous employment.
Article 39 provides that that children are given opportunities and facilities to develop in a healthy manner and in conditions of freedom and dignity and that childhood and youth are protected against exploitation and against moral and material abandonment.
Article 45 Provision for free and compulsory education for children

Protections given by Judiciary
Judiciary has always been very sympathetic to the cause of Juveniles. Even before appropriate laws were enacted, Judiciary promoted directives for the protection of juveniles through its judgement. For example, it was the judiciary, which emphasized on Education for children by making it a fundamental right under Article 21.