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Abstract:

Childhood and children are a golden age and children are vulnerable; they need to be cared for
and protected from the harshness of the world outside and around, and serving the best interest of
the child. A Child is the most sensitive subject to be handled by adults, so that there is no negative
deviance at such sensitive age. Child has been defined broadly in different laws, like the Juvenile
Justice Act, the Child Labor Act, the Child Marriage Restraint Act, etc. There has been increasing
rate of crime where children are involved. When a child before attaining majority commits illegal
offence or any act, he/she is called a Juvenile. According to Merton's theory, Juvenile delinquency
occurs when they do not have the means to make themselves happy so they look for unlawful means
to satisfy themselves. Society plays an important role and rejection of these juveniles in society
has a huge effect on them. When juveniles who cannot meet the social standards seek validation
from a subculture i.e. other juveniles, who also do not meet the social standards, like they steal
things which is accepted in their own subculture. The Juvenile Justice Act provides certain
principles i.e., there should be presumption of innocence, treatment with equal dignity and rights,
Child must have right to be heard, decision must be for the best interest of the child. There shall
be no discrimination against a child on any grounds. Children being our future and the most potent
actors for development of the country, should be protected and controlled from indulging in anti-
social activities. Therefore, Child Welfare should be the main focus. This paper will provide a
socio-legal perspective to juvenile delinquency.
Introduction:

Citizen of a country have various rights accompanied with duties, where there is a duty of society
as a whole towards children who are gift from god and nations’ assets, so that they are given
opportunity to grow in a healthy society. A “Child” according to UNCRC, is a person under 18
years of age. There are various legislations that define ‘Child’, like National Policy for Children
defines any person below the age of eighteen years as a child, Factories Act of 1948 states one
who has completed 15 years of age as a child. According to Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection
of Children) Act, 2000 where section 2 (k) defines a “Child” as a person who has not completed
18 years of age. According to Child Labor (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1986, “Child” is a
person who has not completed the age of 14 years. Child Marriage Restraint Act, 1929 define
Child as a person who, if a male, has not completed twenty-one years of age, and eighteen years if
a female. Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, 1956 defines, “Child” as a person who has not
completed the age of sixteen years. Under existing Juvenile Justice Act 2000, offences are
classified like petty, serious and heinous, along with different processes for each. The new
proposed Act which provides in case of heinous crime committed by a person in the age group of
16-18 years will be first examined by the Juvenile Justice Board to assess whether the crime has
been committed was a ‘child’ or as an ‘adult’, such assessment will take place by the Board which
will have psychologists and social experts, in this case, the juvenile’s right will be protected if the
crime has been committed is a child. Also, Indian constitution has provided various protection
under Article 15 (3) gives permission to the State to make special provisions for children and
women, Article 24 which forbids the employment of children below the age of 14 years in
factories, mines and other hazardous occupations, and in accordance with Directive Principle
Article 39(e) and (f), Article 45 and 47 also deals with the safeguard of child, healthy development
of child, there should be compulsory education up to 14years. Due to various reasons, children get
involved in crime or criminal behavior, be petty crime or heinous one, as no one is born criminal.
There is a duty lies in the hand of State that equal opportunity should be given along with social
justice.

When a child or minor involves into criminal activity which is deviant behavior is defined as
Juvenile Delinquency. India being one of the developing country is now coming across the
increasing problem of juvenile delinquency. A criminal is build out of circumstances inside and
outside the house, peer group, violent family member, poverty and many more. This paper will be
dealing elaborately the provision along with the sociological aspect, as laws are made in
accordance with happening in society.