Authored By- Sheoshree Adhikary
Crime rate is day by day increasing and the most shocking trend that can be noticed is that it is upheaving among Juveniles too. Criminal cases of all sorts ranging from thefts to murder or smuggling to sexual crimes are committed by them. A juvenileisa human below the age of 18. We are constantly reminded that there are problems with juvenile violence. Increasing levels of juvenile violence are a national concern. Each year, millions of juveniles are arrested for delinquency, and even more participate or are at risk of participating in acts of delinquency. Delinquents face numerous challenges including the risk of incarceration, school drop-out, drug use, and an increase in the likelihood of adult criminality. Numerous programs that attempt to prevent delinquency have been an issue in society since the colonial era. During this period, juvenile offenders were made to serve the same punishment as an adult.
The purpose of the present research is to evaluate the behavioural problems in delinquents and non-delinquents. After a detailed literature review, it was hypothesized that the delinquent children will score high on sensation seeking and aggression as compared to non-delinquent children. Further, the delinquent children will have a history of parental physical abuse, parental drug abuse, and school dropout as compared to non-delinquents.
KEYWORDS: Causes, History, Judicial Trends, Youth crime, Case Analysis.
Juvenile Delinquency means the participation of minors or young people in illegal activities. Various Legal systems in the world have adopted specific procedures to deal with juvenile offenders such as Juvenile Justice Courts, Observation Homes, etc. A Juvenile delinquent in India is a person below the age of 18 and has committed an act prohibited under the Indian Penal Code, 1860[1] and otherwise would have been charged with the crime if they have been an adult. Depending upon the severity of the crime and the state of mind of the juvenile while committing the act, people under 18 can be tried as an adult. The word Juvenile delinquency has been debated by psychologists, criminologists, and even sociologists from time immemorial. Lots of people having contrasting and concurring opinions have been focussing on the real cause, which can be explained using different theories ranging from classical to modern ones. Philosophers have come up with different explanations seeking to investigate these tendencies of juvenile crime. Some have associated it with the aspects of race, gender, and poverty that are depicted by poor socio-economic status, while others have associated it with childhood events such as sexual abuse or other forms of physical abuse. Peer group influence has also provided large surface areas for juvenile crimes to flourish. There are socially based theories that explain juvenile delinquency together in traditional and modern or advanced perspectives.[2]A juvenile can be defined as a child who has not attained a certain age at which he can be held liable for his criminal acts like an adult person.[3]There is a difference between the term Juvenile and Minor. Though in common language we use both the terms interchangeably ‘juvenile’ and ‘minor’ in legal terms are used in a different context. The term juvenile is used concerning a young criminaloffender and the term minor relates to the legal capacity or majority of a person. Thus, a Juvenile is a child who is alleged to have committed certain acts or omissions which are in violation ofany law and are declared to be an offense. In recent times juveniles were found to be involved in most heinous crimes such as murder and gang rape. Not all criminals reveal their criminality early in life. Origins of criminal behaviour in childhood are a complex matter, delinquency is reasonably predictable early in some children’s lives.Similarly, antisocial behaviour in the form of juvenile delinquency is predictive of adulthood crime.  It seems evident, though, that early problem behaviour should not be neglected for two reasons it is predictive of later, more serious, problems and, if it is acted on, then even simple interventions may be effective at reducing future delinquency.[4] Juvenile delinquency is an emphasized, nebulas, legal and social label for a wide variety of law and norm violating behaviours. Legally, a juvenile delinquent commits an act defined by law as illegal and whom an appropriate court adjudicates “delinquent”. The legal definition is usually restricted to persons under 18, but states vary in their age distinctions.[5] Delinquency is not a single entity – it is an enormous variety of different behaviours. Behaviours element common to these behaviours as delinquent defines them and they are committed by someone of juvenile age.[6]
Causes Of Juvenile Delinquency
According to Wilson and Howell that there is an increase in the chances that a juvenile will engage in behaviour that can lead to delinquency. Risk factors include the availability of drugs or firearms in the community, family conflict, a lack of commitment to school, and friends who engage in problem behaviour.[7] Studies on the problem of Juvenile deviation generally present two theoretical perspectives. Sociology any Psychological. Even though psychology and sociology focus on different aspects of crime (sociology stresses the system, psychology the person), both disciplines concentrate their attention on the theme of “control”. Psychology emphasizes the personal or inner control that is determined by the superego other than by learned behaviour patterns. Sociology pays attention to the society or community institutions that have a direct effect on the processes of outward social control. According to Reiss, deviation depends both on personal and social controls.[8] The lack of personal and social control may result in crime involvement. There is no doubt that the family is significant for both personal and social control.
The causes of juvenile delinquency may be classified under two major factors: (A) Social factors, and (B) Personality factors.[9]
(A)                    SOCIAL FACTORS
1.      Broken Homes:
 In one of the studies conducted by Uday Shankar in India, 13.3% of the 140 delinquents came from broken homes.The home may be broken up by the death of one or both of the parents, or by prolonged illness or insanity, desertion, or divorce. Interaction at home is a very important means ofsocializing the child.
2.      Poverty:
A very large proportion of delinquent children come from poor homes. They commit their offenses as members of gangs. Uday Shankar’s study has revealed that as many as 83% of the children come from poor families. Poverty compels sometimes both the parents to be outside the home for a very long period to earn their daily bread. The children will be uncared for. Such children may consciously or unconsciously join hands with gangsters and become delinquents. This mostly happens in slum areas and areas in which mostly working-class people live.
3.      Companions and Gangs:
As the child grows older, he goes into the neighbourhood and becomes a member of the playgroup or peer group. If by chance he joins the group or the gang that fosters delinquent attitudes he is also likely to become a delinquent. Offenses are also committed by adolescents due to bad companionship. Studies have shown that delinquent acts are done in the company.
4.      Beggary:
Beggary is often the cause of juvenile delinquency. Child beggars mostly come from very poor families or broken homes. These children are betrayed by the needed love and affection of their parents. They realize that only through deviant practices, they can satisfy their desires and meet their needs. They thus become delinquents.
(B)                    Personal Or Individual Factors:
Personal factors such as mental deficiency and emotional disturbances may also contribute to juvenile delinquency.
1.      Mental Deficiency in Delinquency:
It has been observed that a good number of delinquents are mentally deficient. Studies have revealed that there is a larger proportion of mental defectives in children. It is quite natural to assume that the dull and mentally handicapped or defective adolescents do not have the necessary insight to make distinctions between ‘right’ and ‘deviant’ methods and behaviour.’ Such children are often used by the more intelligent children of the gang or the adults for their criminal purpose.
2.      Emotional Problems of the Individual:
Mental troubles and emotional maladjustments are strong factors in delinquency. Emotional problems of inferiority and jealousy are very common among delinquent children. Thus, from the psychological point of view, “Delinquency is a rebellion and an expression of aggression which is aimed at destroying, breaking down or changing the environment”. This rebellion is mostly against the social conditions which deny the individual his basic rights and the satisfaction of his fundamental needs. Thus, delinquents are not born so, but they become so due to social circumstances and personal deficiencies. They are mostly emotionally maladjusted children who become delinquents to get the attention of their parents or as a protest against their treatment. Thus, it may be said that juvenile delinquency is the result of both social or environmental and personal or individual factors.
Historical Development Of Juvenile Justice Regime In India
Prior to 1850, there was no such legislation enacted to look after the cases related to juveniles. In 1850, the first legislation was passed in form of the Apprentice Act, this act constitutes the provisions related to vocational training for convicted children. Soon after that Indian Penal Code, 1860[10] was passed according to which an absolute immunity was given to the child under the age of 7 from criminal liability under section 82 whereas section 83 provides partial immunity to a child of the age group 7- 12 years. Above 12 years were treated as adults under this Act. But the threat was that sending the children to the ordinary jail might result in bad consequences. Hence, Reformatory School Act was enacted in 1897 which provided for the constitution of Reformatory schools for young persons (boys not above 15 years). Further Children Act, 1960 was enacted and various states enacted their local children acts to deal with delinquency. The time demanded uniform law be enacted to govern juvenile delinquency and hence in the year 1986 the Juvenile Justice Act and which was recently amended in the year 2015 Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection) Act which extends to the whole of India except the state of Jammu and Kashmir. This act provided for the establishment of one or more juvenile justice boards for exercising the powers and discharging its functions related to children who are in conflict with the law. This act, passed in 2015 by Lok Sabha has a new clause that if a juvenile of 16 years or above commits some Heinous Crime, he may be tried as an adult. After the Juvenile Act 2015 important Act, Policies, Organizations came to the take initiatives for the welfare of the children such as the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO), Child Labour(Protection and Regulation) Act, the POCSO Amendment Act 2019,[11]United Nations of the convention on the right of the child (UNCRC),[12] National Child Labour Scheme, National Commission for Protection of Child Rights.Recently, parliament passed the juvenile justice (care and Protection) Amendment Act 2021 to provide strength to the provision of protection and adoption of children. There are many adoption cases pending before the court and to make proceedings of the court faster now the power is transferred to the district magistrate. Previously adoption of the child is final on the issue of adoption order by the civil court. Amendment provides that the district magistrate has the authority to issue such adoption orders.The main role of the Indian juvenile justice system is that children should not be tried in regular courts and laws for juveniles made in a way that corrects them in all possible ways. Most of the children who committed any crime come from poor or illiterate families. The juvenile justice system focuses on the education of the children instead of punishing them. The trial of the children is based on non-penal treatment through social control agencies such as observation homes, special homes, and special schools.[13]
Judicial Trends On Juvenile Delinquency
The Supreme Court and various High Courts play a vital role in the development of the Juvenile Justice System in India. At the primary stage, the cases of the juvenile delinquent are dealt with by the lower courts but their judgments being not binding on the other courts are not able to reflect on any policy. So, the trends of the judicial approach toward a juvenile in conflict with the law, reflected by the judgments of the Hon'ble Supreme Court and various high courts are being examined. The courts/ juvenile justice board are under statutory and Constitutional duty to deal with the juveniles in conflict with the law who are produced or brought before it. The competent authority in deciding the cases has to make a due inquiry and give full opportunity to the juveniles to put their case not only at the time of inquiry regarding the commission of offense he/she is charged with but also at the initial stage of the case when the question of determination of his/her age comes up before the court or the Board concerned. The problem of child delinquency is a major problem faced by developing countries as well as the developed country and it is increasing at a great pace. Even in small urban and rural areas, the problem is growing rapidly and this problem if not taken care of by providing preventive and remedial measures would destroy 'the child' which is the future of a Nation. To tackle and deal with the problem the Governments have established many courts and Boards for the implementation of various laws enacted by the legislation. The courts have contributed a lot in the fields of juvenile justice by interpreting various legislative enactments enacted for the benefit of juvenile offenders.
Theoretical Perspectives On Youth Crimes
The issue of human violence has been vastly theorized in an attempt to explain violent behaviours, especially amongst the youth. The emphasis has been on individual characteristics, mental processes, and environmental and social influences. In this section, an attempt is made to review some of the major psychological perspectives that have tried to explain the etiologic of violence in young people. Delinquency is the result of various factors interacting in a complex way to bring forth the resultant aggressive acts. Largely two perspectives have been theorized for the cause of youth crime:
1)      Primary Factors, and
2)      Secondary Factors.
·         Biological Perspectives on Youth Crimes
Research findings indicate that delinquency has a moderate genetic heritability as indicated by a higher concordance rate for delinquency seen between identical twins when compared with non-identical twins. One study by Cadoret and colleagues (1995)[14] showed that adopted children of biological parents with antisocial personality disorder were more likely to develop conduct disorder if their adoptive parents had exposed them to adverse environments than to normal environments. Adolescence is also an age of various physiological changes that accompany puberty. It is during this time that the young person attains sexual maturity. Levels of hormones in the young body increase almost 10 times with a sharp increase in levels of testosterone. Brain imaging allows us to understand that adolescents are well aware of the risk and can accurately appraise risk-taking behaviours such as drinking and driving, Consuming drugs, and unprotected drugs. Thus, adolescence is a period where rewards of risk-taking become more attractive, but, the capacity to control and regulate behaviour is still developing.
·         The Psychological Perspective on Youth Crimes
The psychodynamic perspective brings to focus the conflicts that emerge with the id- ego struggles and aggression are seen as more of an id impulse which is normally under control but could leak out in case the young adult has not learned appropriate ways of directing such impulses.[15] The weakness of the ego is unchanged because of dysfunctional relationships with significant adults like parents or caregivers, and a lack of sublimation in intellectual or social activities. Young adults who do not have an opportunity to learn appropriate socialization processes from their early familial environment either because they were abused, neglected, or exposed to violence themselves are often unable to control their impulses and seek immediate gratification. They also have trouble empathizing with others and feel no remorse or guilt while hurting others.[16] The psychodynamic perspective takes into account the early childhood experiences as being important contributors to the make-up of a healthy ego.
·         Behaviour Perspective on Youth Crime
According to the behaviourists, all behaviour is a result of conditioning and reinforcement including violence and aggression. Young adults who engage in violence do so because of their earlier experience with violence. These youth either have been directly exposed to some form of aggression themselves or have observed significant others in their immediate environment getting attention either positively or negatively or have themselves been given such attention. It Is thus not uncommon to find violence amongst youth who belong to neighbourhoods that are volatile themselves.[17] Also, in research on social learning theory, Albert Bandura, a Stanford University psychology professor, studied the nature of violence portrayed in mass media and its influence on children.[18]
·         Personality Perspective on youth Crime
Personality can be broadly defined as those characteristics of the person that accounts for consistent patterns of feeling, thinking, and behaving. Seen amongst young children and adolescents these traits appear around the age of eight years or more and are described under the category of conduct disorder. These youngsters show disrespect to the law, and the rights of others and show a deficit, in social behaviour. These children are also caught lying, stealing, and engaging in aggressive acts like cruelty to animals, vandalizing property, bullying other children, and committing other criminal acts and even homicide. Young teenagers could be involved with sexual promiscuity and drug use and abuse.
·         Social and Environmental Factors into Youth Crimes
The age of adolescents involves transitions between childhood and adulthood where significant biological, psychological, and social changes are occurring. During this time the youth is faced with numerous conflicts. They have to learn to deal with parental expectations, make new adjustments to the various social demands, and be part of a group.[19]
Case Analysis
1.      Juvenile Convict to Be Let Off with Fine In 22-Years Old Murder Case[20]
The question before the Supreme Court was whether the accused should be tried as a juvenile under the Juvenile Justice Act, 1986 as it then prevailed when the crime was committed as those under 16 years were termed juvenile under the act.Sentenced to life for murder 22 years ago, a man will now be set free by a local juvenile court in Madhya Pradesh on payment of a fine after the Supreme Court concluded that the convict was a juvenile at the time of the commission of the crime.For all these years, the accused made no whisper about his juvenility before the trial court or the Madhya Pradesh high court, which returned consistent findings of guilt against the man, holding that he along with his father Devi Lal and brother Gokul killed one Ganeshram due to enmity. In May 1999, the trial court at Neemach, MP, sentenced the three accused to life imprisonment for murder and under various provisions of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act. Following this, the Madhya Pradesh high court September 2006 upheld this ruling.The trio appeared in the Supreme Court in 2007 but the plea of juvenility of one of the accused was raised for the first time a decade later in 2017. The top court in October 2018, directed the sessions Judge, Neemach to hold an inquiry into this aspect. Based on the inquiry, the accused was found to be aged 16 years and 11 months on the date of the incident, i.e., July 19, 1998. The question before the Supreme Court was whether the accused should be tried as a juvenile, under the Juvenile Justice Act, 1986 as it then prevailed when the crime was committed as those under 16 years were termed juvenile under the act. The accused did not fall in this category as he exceeded the age limit. In the year 2000, this bar was lifted to 18 years.Section 20 of the modified act provided, “all proceedings in respect of a juvenile pending in any court in any area on the date on which this Act comes into force in that area, shall be continued in that court as if this act had not been passed and if the court finds that the juvenile has committed an offense, it shall record such finding and instead of passing any sentence in respect of the juvenile, forward the juvenile to the board which shall pass orders in respect of that juvenile in accordance with the provisions of this act.”Following this law, the bench of justices UU Lalit, Indira Banerjee, and KM Joseph held, “Even while holding the appellant to be juvenile in terms of the 2000 act and guilty of the offense with which he was charged, we set aside the sentence of life imprisonment imposed upon him and remit the matter to the jurisdictional Juvenile Justice Board for determining the appropriate quantum of fine that should be levied on the appellant.”
At present, there are large numbers of people in the society who are demanding that juveniles in the age group of 16 to 18 years should be treated as adults as far as their conviction in heinous crimes such as rape, gang rape, murder, dacoity, etc. is concerned.
Prevention And Early Intervention
Typically, juvenile delinquency follows a trajectory similar to that of normal adolescent development. In other words, children and youth tend to follow a path toward delinquent and criminal behaviour rather than engaging randomly.[21] Research has shown that there are two types of delinquents,
·         those in whom the onset of severe antisocial behaviour begins in early childhood, and
·         those in whom this onset coincides with entry into adolescence.[22]
In either case, these developmental paths give families, communities, and systems the opportunity to intervene and prevent the onset of antisocial behaviours and justice system involvement.
Early Intervention
In light of the growing body of research, we now know that the better and more cost-effective place to stop the “cradle to prison pipeline” is as close to the beginning of that pipeline as possible. Early intervention prevents the onset of delinquent behaviour and supports the development of a youth’s assets and resilience.[23] While many past approaches focus on remediating visible and/or longstanding disruptive behaviour, research has shown that prevention and early intervention are more effective.[24]
In addition to societal and personal benefits, research has demonstrated that delinquency prevention programs are a good financial investment. For example, a 2001 Washington State Institute for Public Policy (WSIPP) study found that the total benefits of effective prevention programs were greater than their costs. In essence, intervening early “not only saves young lives from being wasted,” but also prevents the onset of adult criminal careers and reduces the likelihood of youth becoming serious and violent offenders. This in turn reduces the burden of crime on society and saves taxpayers billions of dollars.[25]
The most effective way to prevent juvenile delinquency has indisputably been to assist children and their families early on. Numerous state programs attempt an early intervention, and federal funding for community initiatives has allowed independent groups to tackle the problem in new ways. The most effective programs for juvenile delinquency prevention share the following key components:
·         Education
Model programs have assisted families and children by providing them with information. Some programs inform parents on how to raise healthy children; some teach children about the effects of drugs, gangs, sex, and weapons; and others aim to express to youth the innate worth they and all others have. All of these programs provide youths with the awareness that their actions have consequences. This is particularly important in an era where youth are barraged with sexual and violent images. Educational programs have the underlying intent of encouraging hope and opening up opportunities for young people.
·         Recreation
One of the immediate benefits of recreational activities is that they fill unsupervised after-school hours. The Department of Education has reported that youths are most likely to commit crimes between 2 p.m. and 8 p.m., with crime rates peaking at 3 p.m. Recreation programs allow youths to connect with other adults and children in the community. Such positive friendships may assist children in later years. Youth programs are designed to fit the personalities and skills of different children and may include sports, dancing, music, rock climbing, drama, karate, bowling, art, and other activities.
·         Parent-Child Interaction Training Program
The "Parent-Child Integration Training Program" takes parents and children approximately 12 weeks to complete. It is designed to teach parenting skills to parents of children ages two to seven who exhibit major behavioural problems. The program places parents and children in interactive situations. A therapist guides the parents, educating them on how best to respond to their child's behavior, whether positive or negative. The program has been shown to reduce hyperactivity, attention deficit, aggression, and anxious behaviour in children.
·         Bullying Prevention Program
The Bullying Prevention Program is put into place in elementary and junior high school settings. An anonymous student questionnaire fills teachers and administrators in as to who is doing the bullying, which kids are most frequently victimized, and where bullying occurs on campus. Once teachers and administrators have learned about how and where bullying occurs at their school, they set up class rules and facilitate discussions that address the problem. Individual bullies and victims receive independent counselling. The program succeeds in creating a safer, less hostile environment for students at a minimal cost.
·         Prevention Programs Within the Juvenile Justice System
A youth entering the Juvenile Justice System has the opportunity to receive intervention assistance from the state. In the care of the state, youth may receive drug rehabilitation assistance, counselling, and educational opportunities. The success of the Juvenile Justice System is measured by how well it prepares youth to re-enter the community without committing further crimes. Optimally, all juvenile detention facilities would catch youths upon their education, provide them with job training, give them the experience of living in a safe, stable environment and provide them with assistance to break harmful habits.
·         Ending Repeat Offenses
Once out of detention, youths face the challenge of readjusting to a "free" life. For many, youth detainment places a halt on a pattern of destructive behaviour. Once out of prison, the youth must create a pattern of life separate from criminal activity. To assist in this process, courts have attempted to implement helpful social services for former inmates and their families. Some of these are job placement, school follow-up, extended counselling, and extended drug rehab.

Conclusion And Suggestion
Juvenile Delinquency and the problems related to it have been faced by all societies, all over the world, however, in the developing world, the problems are all the more formidable. The process of development has brought in its wake a socio-cultural upheaval affecting the age-old traditional ways of life in the congenial rural milieu. Juveniles are adversely affected by changing conditions. At the same time, the traditional social control system that served as a preventive check against any antisocial activity is gradually giving way. Consequently, the problem of juvenile deviance and antisocial propensities is rearing its ugly head – a situation that needs to be checked. Offenders usually the yearning to commit crimes when they are young, hence it constitutes a very good opportunity to confront their immorality, as children are more flexible and can easily be formed into positive characters. An exception could also be made especially for this crime that they’ll be punished the same as adults because ties height of crime cannot be ignored.
      Efforts to combat juvenile offending have to work at various levels. Primary prevention programs employ strategies to identify and treat personal problems and disorders before they translate into criminal behaviour. On the other hand, Secondary prevention efforts should focus on the psychological treatment of youth offenders.
Children are born selfless and crime-free, it is the surroundings of the society which inculcate crime in them. It is necessary that there should be proper development along with proper availability of resources, equal opportunity, and a healthy atmosphere for the children to grow up with crime-freeminds.