Nelson Mandela rightly said that the “Youths Today are a Nation’s Tomorrow” but in a world full of uncertainties and mishaps, one cannot hit a bull’s eye when committing oneself to an offence, mistake, or any normal adherence altogether. Be it unintentional, intentional, or pushed into, once committed, such offences can cost a lifetime of the individual and such individuals are generally seen to be an amateur, a minor. Unknowing the possible outcome occurrences of the bigger commitments that they are forced into by their relatives, friends, family, or a random stranger, minors can end up costing their whole future. According to the statistics provided by The National Crime Records Bureau, the rate of juvenile offences has only seen a steady increase – since it was at a 1.77 incidents per lakh of the population which rose to 2.58 by 2013.[1] The nature of so committed offences varies from murder, kidnapping, abduction, and rape, to dacoity and violence. The mindset, the luring incentives, the psyche behind is to be dealt with, in this blog. But before hoping onto the main topic, a little background is to be investigated.

Introduction and Difference Between the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Acts of 2000 and 2015

The introduction of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015 was done aiming to achieve the purpose of criminal trials conduction of such minors or children who are in conflict with the law (CCLs) who are defined under Section 2 (13) of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015 as “child” in conflict with law means a child who is alleged or found to have committed an offence and who has not completed eighteen years of age on the date of commission of such offence[2]; before the Juvenile Justice Board (JJBs).

The introduction of The Juvenile Justice Act, of 2015 was in the momentum of the Delhi gang rape case, which is responsible for triggering major changes in India’s criminal system.

The Juvenile Justice Act of 2000 failed to serve help to children who are in conflict with laws and provide them protection from harsher punishments of the district and high court which the Juvenile Justice Act of 2015 majorly focuses on. There was no concrete division of the crimes in the Juvenile Justice Act of 2000 which was later targeted in the Act of 2015 in the form of: – Petty offences, Serious Offences, and Heinous Offences along with the mandatory formation of Juvenile Justice Boards or JJBs in every district for dealing with children in conflict with the law[3].

These two acts are also distinct in the penalties they provided for such children or minors since intoxicating children with liquor or narcotic drug resulted in the imprisonment of up to seven years and a cash penalty of up to one lakh rupees.[4]

Cases committed by minors, impeded by majors

Minors or the juveniles are to be directed and guided by the majors or the adults of the society. Looking at the nature of the offences committed by minors, such offences are often “certainly stigmatized” and thus they affected the “dignity of the child.” Data depicts the jarring reality that such impending nature of the cases and lesser attention paid to such ‘petty’ offences which are left untreated for longer periods of time (more than 6 months) bears an everlasting impact on the mental status of the juvenile and it ultimately jeopardizes the growth and development of them.

The delays in the case and its hearing may be caused due to several reasons like incomplete nature of the official documents so required for the verification process, the disinterest of the family of the juvenile to get involved in ‘court’ matters- worrying about their image and looking away the underlying problem of their ward which, if left unattended, might make its roots deeper in the working and thinking patterns of the child.

The Legislature of our country has also realized the need of vigilance and awareness regarding the protection of our nation’s children since ignoring them equals to ignoring the future of the country. It has taken major steps in the direction of promoting and safeguarding their rights and has enacted several statues to become better able to deal with the children in conflict with the law.

In a landmark judgement of Hari Ram v. State of Rajasthan & Anr. [2009 SCC 13 211], it was alleged that the upper age limit for male children to be considered juveniles was 16 years under the Juvenile Justice Act, 1986. The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000 (JJ Act, 2000), on the other hand, considers children up to 18 years as juveniles.

The issue at discussion here was whether the Juvenile Justice Act of 2000 applied to the offences committed before it came into force.

The court observed that according to the Sections 2(k), 2(l), 7A, 20, and 49, it was clarified that all persons below the age of 18 years on the date of commission of the offence would be treated as juveniles, irrespective of the date of the commission of the Act of 2000.

Psychology and Delinquencies: Intertwined?

Before hoping on to the connection between the two, it is important to understand what does the term ‘Delinquency’ mean? A natural inclination towards the assumption about ‘delinquent behaviour’ is acceptable, but it is not true. The overt projections of a delinquent behaviour differ widely, from culture to culture due to the social differences in the family background of the individual.

Legally speaking, the Indian Penal Code of the country, defines any mis-deed of the juvenile which is harmful to the society as “juvenile offence” rather than “delinquency”.[5]

Psychologically, ‘juvenile delinquency’ is the “alloplastic infringement of social values”.[6] Psychology has never failed to play an intricate role in every field and sphere of an individual’s life, and so committing a crime does have a role to play in the mind of the juvenile. Sigmund Freud, the Father of Psychoanalysis, introduced the world to 3 integral parts of an individual’s personality – the id, ego, and superego. Recent studies have found that these parts of the personality do affect an individual’s ultimate and overt behaviour. Such claims have further been strengthened by various research and studies suggesting that most acts of delinquency are caused by weak or defective superegos and not by criminal tendencies[7]. The latter is the progressive outcome of a defective superego mechanism and is not a factor itself.

A defective superego and a weak personality structure are often a result of overpowering and strong early childhood urges, which ultimately result in aberrant behaviour.[8] According to various psychologists, the structure, and the cores of a family to which the child belongs play a very important role in determining his personality structure. The functioning of the family, the impact of family disruption, values, and morals given by a single parent, love deprivation from parents, especially mothers, are crucial factors, acknowledged to determine whether a child is likely to showcase aberrant behaviour.[9] It has been believed that children up to the age of 5 years are all about the Id component of the personality structure and it might get disturbed easily. According to psychologists, children rejected by their parents at a fragile age, or children subjected to various conflicts in the households between the family members, and the ones subjected to inadequate supervision, are more prone to get converted to a juvenile in conflict with the law.

Along the same lines, factors like poverty, mental state/mental deficiency, the socio-economic status of the family are all important ingredients which sums to the ultimate recipe of the introduction the incidences of law violation and development of frustration, insecurity, and a sense of hostility in young generation for which the community has been accused.


The overall conclusion that we are near, is that early intervention in the lives of children of fragile ages is required to prevent delinquency and ultimately the criminal behaviour of adolescents. Juvenile delinquency has arisen as a major problem in our country I the past couple of years, but immense misconceptions regarding it still persists in the minds of the people of our country.

Dealing with the specific problems of juvenile delinquencies, a knowledge of socio-cultural systems has proved to be of great value.[10] There could be various reasons for the influence of the child to become a juvenile which might include the social influence at large. The shaping of the behaviour through observation of people in the immediate niche throws a major impact on the minds of children who do not have a sense of judgment at such a young age. They could be easily swayed through imitations, suggestions, conformity, asking for compliance, etc. All these aforementioned factors are a part of social influence. The most important of them is the phenomenon of ‘identification’ and ‘incentives.’ Reinforcements are the last step to persuade an individual to commit an offence since for some, they could also mean rewards.

Techniques vary in nature for the prevention of crime and delinquency and are always personalized since they are based on the nature of the actual causation of each delinquency.[11] People of great importance for such juveniles like psychiatrists, teachers, parents, social workers, and law officers need to come together to make a difference in the lives of such juveniles for which, the identification of the problem is the foremost step which shall begin locally[12]. Severely punishing such acts can also work for shorter periods as children find a way out or an escaping factor for such punishments.

A more permanent and effective approach is required to be followed to change the lives of juveniles for their betterment.




[4] Ibid


[6] Ibid


[8] Ibid




[12] Supra Note 10

Author: Alina Ali,
Manipal University Jaipur, 2nd year, student, B.A. LLB. (Hons)

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