Juvenile Justice System in India: Constitutional Validity

In this article, the aim is to analyze the particular treatment embraced by India for Juveniles in the light of its protocol. The term ‘Justice’ means ‘concern for justice, fairness, equity’. It is a principle of moral decency in the pursuit of fair treatment against unjust behaviors. The meaning of the syntax ‘juvenile wrongdoer’ is doing something against society by young individuals. The terms ‘Juvenile Justice’ means what is just, fair and equitable to the child or young persons in shaping their character in the society. ‘Juvenile Justice System’ means a procedure to handle the difficulty of being perturbed with children and society. The main motive of the Juvenile Justice System is to wrap up the children by making the use of appropriate treatment and create an environment to grow a positive and productive human personality. Juvenile Justice System is socio-legal actions to create an atmosphere for the treatment of wrongdoer juveniles.


Considering the current state of the Juvenile Justice System in India requires recourse of the historic vision. The Juvenile Justice System in India emerged during British rule. Before British authorities in India, Juveniles were treated by the family and society in the broad sense. The institutional treatment of Juveniles was not visibly observed. The Juvenile Justice System and the disciplinary measure was the direct sequel of western ideology and development of prison reforms. The culture of crimes by youthful offenders is as old as society. Owing to doli in capital spending and audacious attitude, the youth often come in dispute with law and get involved in the crimes. Gone are those blustery days when the problems of Juvenile were not considered as a separate system. It can be witnessed from the past that the children were thrown into lock-ups without trial. They were locked up in the jail along with hardened culprits. In the 19th century penologists prescribed equal punishment for both the adult and Juvenile.

History tells that the juveniles were hanged, carried out, and locked up like adult criminals. The records specified that, in 1833, the death sentence was given to nine years of child for the robbery of goods worth two rupees. Hanging, flogging, and torture of the condemn were commonly exercised for small crimes. The punishments were commonly made before the public as a method of prevention. Gradually the problem of the young criminals was given separate treatment. Some leading penologists have recommended disciplinary measures in the place of penal measures. India got independence in 1947. It became the signatory to UDHR 1948. Being the endorser to the UNO, India has adopted measures as per the international standard. The constitution of India gives separate treatment for the children and women. The premise which is supposed to be noted down in social context is undertaken to make a strong Juvenile Justice System in India.

Repercussions of Nirbhaya Case

In the recent Nirbhaya case, every person is aware that a various kind of Justice System exists for Juveniles. Many people are not yet known of how the Juvenile Justice System goes on. After the case of Nirbhaya people turned nostalgic and showcased their aggressive point of view towards the judgment of the court. They asked for the death sentence for the child who was a part of the Nirbhaya case. There was no extensive voice in parliament and the new law (Juvenile Justice Care and protection of children, 2015[1]) came into existence as a law in India. It is an inclusive purveying for children who claimed and found to be in dispute with the law. It also takes care of the children who are in need of care and protection. This law is enacted taking into the consideration of conventions of Rights of the child and other related international instruments.

The government of India endorsed the protocol of Rights of the Child (CRC) on 11 Dec,1992. The constitution of India entitles and castes the duty on the state to ensure that their minimum requirements are met and their basic human rights are fully protected. The state deliberated to upkeep the principle acquired in the constitution. According to the international treaties and constitutional framework, it is the authority of the state to treat the children with all softness and for the best interest of the child. However, there is a strong public demand for harsher punishment for the youngsters who commit an adult crime that is serious in nature like murder, rape, robbery, theft, etc. Such youngsters should be punished like adults. Of course, there is inflammatory rhetoric about youth crimes and there is increased public cynicism about the present Juvenile Justice System.

Since the acquisition by our constitution, a lot of efforts were made to understand the philosophy of the Juvenile Justice System, and accordingly, various laws were enacted. But all the efforts are half-hearted and need serious consideration. The shareholders of Juvenile Justice Administration must take note of the important conditions that triumph in our Juvenile Justice System. Intellectuals condemned about the poorly formed policies and misuse of huge precious resources. The main criticism is the poor treatment process and poor infrastructure. It needs a feasible response from all quarters.

What is child protection?

UNICEF contemplates youth confirmation as the evade of or responding to the event of abuse, misapply, enmity, and insouciance of children. This joins business venereal misuse, peddle, pubescent work, and treacherous standard practices, for instance, female genital damage/cutting and child marriage. Assertion similarly allows children to have passage to their individual benefits of durability, change, development, and progress.

UNICEF keeps up that when youngsters security misses the mark or is missing youths have a risk of death or danger, poor bodily and mental benefits, HIV/AIDS illness, academic matters, movement, floating and poor child lifting up proposition further not far off. As specified by the Integrated Child Protection Scheme (ICPS) Child Protection is about taking care of children from the risk to their lives. It is about observing that youths are disclosed and, in this way, reducing their fatigue by protecting them from harm and dangerous circumstances.

Child affirmation is about verifying that teenagers have definitely a net to depend upon, and in case they happen to fall through the hollow in the system, the structure has the commitment to give the child the censorious thought and reformation to bring them over into the success net.

National Legislation of Juvenile Justice System

 As many acts have been passed from certain stages and time as for the first time in 1986 the act was passed here which give a written form to it for the genuine well-being of kids as for their arbitration and how to be served in the same sense but due to some prompt, it is to be amended than comes as a revised act of 2000 it also made specific bodies as we can say the homes for their treatment and well-being but it also been amended in 2007 and again in 2015 as after the most renowned case Nirbhaya case which brings the great change in the revolution in the country against it and many crucial amendments are been done which we will debate further. Currently, we all know that dangerous crimes are being carried out by juveniles and now we are in a state of discussing the juvenile’s sage and punishment which is not given to them according to the crimes committed by them.

Age resolution is the most important element to find out whether the accused falls under the ambit of the Juvenile Justice Act. According to the correct recording of the age is also important to form child well-being committees, panels, and institutes. In the Nirbhaya or Delhi gang rape[2], the 2012 case created huge devastation regarding punishments given to the juvenile sentence should be the same as given to other sentences. Yes, the juveniles should also be treated in the same way because they have committed the same crime and also if they are below their representative age of majority they need to be punished for the crime they have committed, because if they get away with it will become a custom which will carry on till the later part of their life, certainly they should get the same treatment.

The sooner a child is held responsible for their activities, shortly they will come to know there are many consequences for their activities. Giving punishment is a good thing, so they can learn that actions have consequences and correct them in the future. They should be punished for a short period depending on the crime committed that is the best gift they can collect. Consequently, it will be the most efficient approach as their minds are still in the maturing stage.

Judicial Trends

As from time to time many movements had been made over the juvenile justice system in India as by various kinds of judgment by different courts and codifications and some out of that are as follows- The apex court of India in Gaurav Jain v Union of India[3] while commencing with writ petition under Article 32 of the Constitution concerning to the predicament of the gigolo or fallen women and their children, spoke about the Preamble of the Constitution and expressed that it is a fundamental part of the Constitution of India and that the kids have the right to fairness and the chance for all welfare, nobility and care for the real defense and mending by the society with open hands open to make them onto a certain way of communal life without any mark based on them for no guilt.

In Laxmikant Pandey v. State[4], the Court of India noticed that every juvenile has a right to proper wellbeing, helping hand and affection and of ethics and proper safety and this is only claimable only when the juveniles will be brought up in the specific family and positive surrounding. In Subramanian Swamy v. Raju Thar[5]. Member, Juvenile Justice Board. Some prevalence becomes the utility stone that shook the soul of the society, public, or nation. One of such is the case of the Delhi gang rape as where the 5, 6 persons rape a girl though brutally with cruelty and killing her by putting a rod in private part and the justice system is as such the juvenile entails in it is to be released after small confinement. In the specific case, Dr. Subramaniyam Swami a senior most lawyer moved to the Supreme Court of India seek to the court for an order of preventing the release of the set of juveniles from a special or particular home.

The Supreme Court of India moving on by saying that they are impotent for the same as due to the law made for it not tends to do the son and ask him to move to parliament and make proper law or rule for it. It would not be out of the conditions to mention that sets the juvenile was kept in a special or particular home along with an accused Delhi Blast Case. Thus, one can easily imagine the effect of the blast case accused on the sad juvenile and inversely. It has further been noticed that the juveniles liberated from monitoring some and special or particular home were found to perform a more dangerous crime. A question naturally arises whether this rectifying home is capable of serving the objectives for which these homes were established and entrenched.


The Juvenile Justice System is based on the concept of social welfare and rights of the child. The primary focus of the Juvenile Justice System is the transformation and recovery. It is to give the opportunity to the child to develop his personality and maintain good character. The objective, after all, is to move ahead to create a moralistic society of high order. They must be modified from worst to good personality. However, looking to the past incidents, we have to make a flyover to fill the wide gap between theory and practice. In this procedure, we have to construct a good framework and the system of the Juvenile Justice Administration. The new legislation leads to the ambition that we need to make the dream into reality. Children develop the nation’s valuable human resources.

The future achievement of the nation depends upon how its children perform and accomplish. So, it is the loyalty of the universal bunch to deal with every immature with a point of view to enduring full advance of its character. Children are the future controllers and gleaming bearers of the Society: they are the units of our understanding, societal inheritance, judgment structures, and logical purpose. Children are a future part of sensational instructors, professionals, judges, leaders, capability, doctors, engineers, representatives on whom the entire society set up. Grievously a huge number of children are cut off from managing their childhood and right to tolerating and thereby they are subjected to exploitation, misuse, and abuse. Child labor is a complex luxury-related issue. In a country where a large number of children go to sleep hungry, without having a single meal dinner or lunch of the day, the total end of child labor by the basic legitimate arrangement of activity can never be said to be a sensible advisor.

It may cover the apprehensiveness yet can’t cure it. Samuel Johnson opined that, “Agony is a remarkable opponent to human achievement; it definitely destroys flexibility, and it makes a couple of excellencies unfeasible and others to astonishing degree troublesome.


  1. Nirbhaya Case- https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/nirbhaya-case-four-convicts-hanged-to-death-in-tihar-jail/article31114864.ece
  2. Art. 14, 21-A, 15(3), 39, 45,47, and 51 (A) of the Constitution of India, 1950.
  3.   Dr. B.K. Das – Juvenile Justice in India – 1st Ed. 2011 at p. 10.
  4. The Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1986, Act No. 61 of 1986, 23th      December, 1986.
  5.   Pandey J N. Constitutional Law of India, seventh edition.

Frequently asked questions

  • Is it compulsory for the police to produce all juveniles before the Juvenile Justice Board?

 In all the specific cases where a Child   is seized, presenting them before

            Board is compulsory.

  • What does SJPU mean?

It means “Special Juvenile Police Unit”, it’s a unit of police force exclusively in a district commencing with the cases of the children.

  • Can the police file the FIR in all the cases including children?

No, in matters including children the police can file a FIR only in regards with the offence alleged to have been committed by the child is atrocious in nature and punishable with a sentence of 7 years or more.

  • Who shall bring a Child before the Juvenile Justice Board and in what time period?

A delegated Child Welfare Police officer from the Special Juvenile Police Unit should bring a Child before the Juvenile Justice Board within 24 hours.

  • Which people can release a child on bail?

In some offences, the police may release a child on bail. But in all non-bailable matters including that of serious crimes only the Juvenile Justice Board is sanctioned to release a child on bail.

[1]          http://cara.nic.in/PDF/JJ%20act%202015.pdf

[2]       https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-51969961

[3]      https://indiankanoon.org/doc/40881001/

[4]        https://indiankanoon.org/doc/551554/

[5]         https://indiankanoon.org/doc/134314390/

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