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Juvenile Justice in India: Structure, Strengths, Weaknesses



  May 31, 2024

India's Juvenile Justice: Structure, Strengths, Weaknesses



Legal Structure:

- The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015
- CrPC ( Criminal Procedure Code)
- IPC (Indian Penal Code)

Strengths:

1. Specialized approach: The JJ Act recognizes the need for a separate justice system for children, acknowledging their vulnerability and need for protection.

2. Rehabilitation focus: The Act emphasizes rehabilitation and reintegration of children into society, rather than punishment.

3. Child-friendly procedures: The Act mandates child-friendly procedures, including the presence of a guardian or counselor during proceedings.

4. Juvenile Justice Boards: The Act establishes Juvenile Justice Boards to deal with cases involving children, ensuring specialized attention and care.

Weaknesses:

1. Lack of infrastructure: Insufficient resources, inadequate facilities, and poorly trained staff hinder the effective implementation of the Act.

2. Delays and pendency: Cases involving children often face delays and pendency, defeating the purpose of speedy justice.

3. Ad-hocism: The selection and training of experts, such as psychologists and social workers, are often inadequate, leading to inconsistent

assessments.

4. Lack of accountability: The system often fails to hold parents, guardians, or authorities accountable for their roles in preventing or addressing juvenile crimes.

5. Social and economic factors: Poverty, illiteracy, and social factors contribute to juvenile crimes, and the system struggles to address these underlying issues.

6. Limited scope: The Act primarily focuses on children in conflict with the law, neglecting other vulnerable groups, such as children in need of care and protection.

Overall, while the Juvenile Justice System in India has made progress, it still faces significant challenges in effectively addressing the complex issues surrounding child crimes and welfare. Addressing these weaknesses is crucial to ensuring a more comprehensive and effective system.

Here are brief summaries of the legal provisions related to juveniles in the three laws:

_Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015_

- Section 2(13): Defines a "juvenile" as a person who has not completed 18 years of age

- Section 3: Specifies the objectives of the Act, including ensuring care, protection, and rehabilitation of juveniles

- Section 5: Establishes Juvenile Justice Boards (JJBs) to deal with cases involving juveniles

- Section 7: Mandates preliminary assessment to determine whether a juvenile should be tried as an adult

- Section 15: Provides for the rehabilitation and reintegration of juveniles into society

_Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC)_

- Section 82: Defines a "juvenile" as a person under 18 years of age

- Section 83: Exempts juveniles from criminal liability for certain offenses

- Section 317: Mandates the production of a juvenile before a Juvenile Justice Board (JJB)

- Section 318: Provides for the trial of juveniles in a separate court

_Indian Penal Code (IPC)_

- Section 82: Exempts juveniles from criminal liability for certain offenses

- Section 83: Specifies reduced punishments for juveniles convicted of certain offenses

Note that these summaries are brief and not exhaustive, and each law has many more provisions and details related to juveniles.




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