“Humanity has the stars in its future, and that future is too important to be lost under the burden of juvenile folly and ignorant superstition”.
It is a harsh reality today that juveniles are often involved in a large number of crimes. Hence, this presents a special challenge for law enforcement.
The Juvenile Justice concept was derived from the notion that the problems of juvenile delinquency in abnormal situations are not possible to rectify within the framework of the conventional processes of criminal law. One of the principle roles of juvenile justice has been to provide specialized treatment for better social integration and preventive treatment services for children.
Through the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, 1989, the highest point in the quest for ensuring rights to juveniles has been reached. India, being a signatory, has made efforts to ensure the child such protection and care for his or her well-being, whether undertaken by public or private social welfare institutions, courts of law, administrative or legislative bodies, the best interests of the child shall be a primary consideration.
One of the principle roles of juvenile justice has been to provide specialized treatment for better social integration and preventive treatment services for children. The array of opportunities must help the children in satisfying various needs of children.
The present Law i.e. Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection) Act allows for juveniles (16 to 18 years) to be tried as adults for heinous offence like rape and murder. It also makes it mandatory for setting up Child Welfare Committees and Juvenile Justice Boards in every district. Both must have at least one woman member each.
Further, under this act several rehabilitation and social reintegration measures have been provided. For example, children are provided with various skill set training and also other facilities like education, health, nutrition, de-addiction, treatment of diseases, vocational training, skill development et al which help them reignite their spirit of cooperation and a sense of belongingness to society.
However, there are certain loopholes in the Act itself and a number of things need to be improved at the ground level as well. Juveniles are less knowledgeable than adults, and time and again exhibit fewer respect to the authorities. The infantile behavior of many children leads them to often engage in unusual behavior when in the company of their peers. Juveniles also present a special trouble for law regulators, as they are less mindful of the consequences of their actions and of the effects of their delinquent behavior on their victims, their parents and families, their peers, and themselves.
Thus, a lot more remains to be done to ensure a smooth running of the juvenile justice system in the country. This is why discourse regarding this topic and opinion of experts and stakeholders is extremely necessary.
Realizing the importance of the same, at the NAF one full theme has been dedicated to Juvenile Justice.
I think it’s important for us as a society to remember that the youth within juvenile justice systems are, most of the time, youths who simply haven’t had the right mentors and supporters around them – because of circumstances beyond their control.