JUVENILE DELINQUENCIES IN INDIA
People in our country often symbolize children as a gift of God. The minds of the children are very fragile and sensitive. There should be a proper socio-economic environment for their brought-up to mold them into physically fit, morally healthy, and responsible citizens who can express their concern and resolve their problems amicably and peacefully uphold the law and order to maintain the social balance. However, owing to different unprecedented circumstances, a certain percentage of children will not follow the law and end up getting involved in a criminal activity which is known as Juvenile Delinquency or Juvenile Crime.
JUVENILE AND JUVENILE DELINQUENCY
Juvenile means children who have not yet become major/ reached the age of adulthood.
Delinquency is a kind of sociopathic behavior. When there is an aberration from the course of social life, his behavior is called delinquency.
Thus, Juvenile delinquency is elucidated as an individual under 18 years of age who fails to abide by the laws.
In simple words, juvenile delinquency is an offensive behavior by a juvenile below an age specified by statute.
JUVENILE CRIMES IN INDIA
Juvenile crimes are undeniably a morbid reality in India. The crime rate among juveniles is shockingly increasing day by day. The mayhem caused by these juvenile crimes is a cause of national concern. Juvenile violence poses a constant threat to our society. But it focuses less on prevention and more on punishment.
We come across many petty and atrocious crimes committed regularly in India like theft, burglary, rape, and murder. The regrettable aspect is many children are also involved in these heinous crimes.
According to the data from the National Crime Records Bureau for the year 2019, there are a total of 51,56,172 cases registered against juveniles under INDIAN PENAL CODE and SPECIAL LOCAL LAW. In 2017 NCBR cited that the child criminals in conflict with law apprehended under IPC (Indian Penal Code), SLL (Special and Local Laws) crimes were in the age group of 16 years to 18 years. These cases accounted for 29,194 out of 40,420, totaling 72.2 percent cases during 2017, the NCRB said.
CAUSES OF JUVENILE DELINQUENCY
No one is a born criminal. The circumstances make him so. The brought up of the children, socio-economic conditions inside and outside, and the companions they choose play a vital role in molding the personality of a person. However, in India, it is the poverty and the effect of social media that causes their orientation towards crime. The following factors play a crucial role in causes of juvenile delinquency
In one of the studies conducted by Uday Shankar in India, 13.3% of the 140 delinquents came from broken homes. The home is broken due to the death of one or both the parents, or by prolonged illness or insanity, desertion, or divorce. Interaction in the house is of paramount importance for socializing the child. The mother plays a vital role in this regard. If she divorces her husband or deserts him or dies, the upbringing of the child will be affected. Such a child not only bears the loss of motherly love but also parental control and becomes an easy victim to the outside negative influence. But we cannot assume that a broken home directly leads to delinquent behavior of children.
The majority of juvenile crimes are attributed to poor economic conditions. They commit their crimes by becoming a member of criminal gangs. In India poverty coerces both parents of the family to go to work to earn their daily wages, leaving their children without any parental control leaving them exposed to anti-social influence, and perpetuating them to commit crimes. It happens in the slum area where most working-class people live.
Companion and Gangs
A person’s character is solely determined by his choice of friend. Companionship plays a critical role in shaping the persona of a person. If a child joins a wicked group or gang that fosters delinquent behavior, the child is most likely to be involved in delinquent behavior. Offenses are also committed by adolescents due to bad companionship. In his Illinois Crime Survey of 1928, Shaw analyzed 6000 boys who were involved in the crime. He found that in 90% of the cases two or more boys were involved in the crime. But in Uday Shankar’s study in India, only 23% of persons committed delinquent acts due to bad company. One cannot, however, presume that mere companionship by itself causes juvenile delinquency
Emotional problems of the individual
From the psychological point of view, “Delinquency is a rebellion and an expression of belligerent behavior which aims at destroying, breaking down or causing a social imbalance in the environment”. This mutiny is against the social conditions which deny basic rights and the satisfaction of fundamental needs. Thus, delinquents are not born, but they become so due to social circumstances and personal deficiencies.
Remedies to prevent juvenile delinquency in children
• Identify children with delinquent behavior and provide counseling to the children.
• Providing monetary assistance to the parents of the children helps to improve their economic conditions.
• The children who feel they were socially alienated need to be treated with proper care and love to prevent them from developing hatred against society.
• They need to be provided enough educational opportunities to give them a better future.
• Children who show signs of becoming potential rape criminals need to be dealt with carefully with proper guidance.
• Children who are addicted to drugs at early age should be sent to rehabilitation centers for proper treatment
The development of technology significantly affected the lives of children with the entry of social media. At the same time, the parenting of children that served as a constant monitoring system against any nefarious activity is gradually giving way as both the parents are involved in earning money, which leaves no one keeps tabs on what their children are doing. Consequently, the problem of juvenile deviance and the inclination towards anti-social activities is rearing its ugly head – a situation that needs desperate attention in the need of the hour. Separate laws must be introduced for this kind of crime. Such as in case of thefts, smuggling, or any minor level of crime, the guilty should be pushed to Rehabilitation Centre for its grooming. But, serious assaults like brutal rape should be handled differently. An exception could also be made especially for this crime that they’ll be punished the same as adults because this height of crime cannot be ignored.
- By Smridhi Nangia