Evolution of Juvenile Justice System in Modern World

Juvenile Justice System is the growing and apprised structure adopted by the nations with extensive growth of children. The main focus is to reform the diverted children & provide care to the unprotected child. As far as practicable, a child to be readapted and restored to the family. The special court to adopt the doctrine of parens patriae while deciding the matter of child in conflict with the law.


Understanding the present state of the (JJS) in India requires recourse to history. The JJS in India arose during British rule. Before the British rule in India, Juveniles were treated by the family & society in general.

Gone are those squally days when the problems of Juvenile were not taken as a separate system. It can be witnessed from the past that the children were hurl into prison without trial. They were locked in the jail along with criminals. In the 19th century penologists prescribed equal punishment for both adults & Juveniles. History reveals that juveniles were hanged till death, transported & imprisoned like adult criminals.

Gradually the problem of young offenders was given separate treatment .The Indian constitution provided separate treatment for the children & women. The supposition that is reported in the social milieu is undertaken to make a strong JJS in India.

Meaning and Concept

The etymological term Juvenile means young person or any young person retaining characteristics of a child. The term wrongdoing underlines failure to observe norms of society or omission of duty, involving crime or doing any wrong. The term Justice means concern for justice, fairness, equitableness or a concern for peace & genuine respect for people. It is a principle of virtuous rightness in the pursuit of fair treatment against unacceptable behaviour. JJS is a system coming within the area of criminal law administration of justice. This is a system take on for the young person not old sufficient to be held responsible for criminal acts.

Juvenile wrongdoing of some act against society by young persons. The term Juvenile Justice means what is just, fair & equitable to the child or young persons in shaping their personality in the society. JJS means a process to deal with the problem concerned with children & society. The main purpose of JJS is to encase children by resorting to suitable treatment and create an environment to evolve a positive human personality. JJS is a socio-legal assess to create an atmosphere for the treatment of delinquent juveniles.

Almost all nations of the civilized world have adopted Juvenile Justice Law to treat & handle the young offender in the most impartial manner, so that they can lead a tranquil moral & democratic life. JJS applicable to the persons; those are below 18 years of age. Juvenile Justice is decided & delivered through Juvenile court, a court which is child friendly in nature. The main goal of this JJS is to adopt rehabilitative measures rather than punitive measures. If a child commits or any wrong young person turns wrongdoer, the Juvenile court takes steps for foster care & soft treatment through special institutions. So that Juvenile lawbreakers can find a path to lead a decent life.

Aftermath of Nirbhaya Case

Today (After Nirbhaya case) many people are conscious that a separate Justice System exists for Juveniles. Numerous people are not yet conscious how JJS works. After the incident of Nirbhaya people turned sentimental & expressed their hostile attitude towards the decision of the court. They urge to a death sentence for the child involved in the Nirbhaya case.

There was roaring in parliament and the new law (Juvenile Justice Care and protection of children 2015) came into extant in India. It is a detailed provision for children alleged and found to be in conflict with the law. It also deals with children in necessitate of care & protection. This law is passed taking into deliberation conventions of Rights of the child & other related international instruments. The govt. of India acceded the accord of Rights of the Child (CRC) on 11 Dec.1992.

According to the international treaties & constitutional parameters, it is the duty 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 rigorous punishment for youths who commit adult crime i.e. hardcore crimes like murder, rape, robbery, dacoit etc. Alike youths should be punished like adults. Of course, there is provocative rhetoric regarding youth crimes and there is enhanced public cynicism about the present JJS. Since the adoption of our constitution a lot of efforts were made to get the philosophy of the JJS and accordingly various laws were enacted. But all the efforts are half-hearted & need serious deliberation. The stakeholders of the Juvenile Justice Administration must take note of the significant conditions that triumph in our JJS. Intellectual’s challenges poorly conceived policies & squandering huge precious resources.

Development of juvenile justice system

The JJS developed throughout the world with a conception that children are not mature like adults. They fail to understand consequence of their acts. This idea is hinge on the legal principle of doli incapax i.e. children don’t have capacity to form criminal intentions.

Therefore, a child can’t be made liable for acts which are illegal. An adult is commonly understood to mean a person who has reached maturity of mind. In psychological perception, a person is mature who have certain skills that are the product of both development and the nature of the persons interactions with his or her environment.

The development of the childs cognitive abilities is, to some extent, influenced by the child’s environment. The child is able to understand and interpret the world differently because of his or her ability to involve in more abstract thought. It is to be noted that there is no general observations about the definition of youth and child. Different statutes have different mandates in the matter of age or attaining adulthood. There is policy shift in the new Juvenile Justice legislation.

It is a very developing Act, designed and introduced to adopt the philosophy of parens patriae and prescribe institutionalized care & protection. The only shift witnessed is to punishing delinquents involved in case serious offence. JJS is adopting policy for the reformation & socialization of the young person and punishment is deviation. JJS is actually different from ordinary criminal courts, adopting informal hearing.

Substantive amendments were made into the existing juvenile Justice act of 2015 on July 28. Rajya Sabha passed the Juvenile Justice Care & Protection of Children Amendment Bill 2021. It was passed with an enormous majority by Lok Sabha during the budget session of 2021. Surprisingly, this bill received support from the opposition as well as the ruling party. After getting the assent from the President, the new amendment bill will come into force.


The JJS is based on the principle of social welfare & rights of the child. The main focus of the JJS is reformation & rehabilitation. It is to fabricate opportunities for the child to evolve his personality. The goal above all, is to proceed ahead to create an unbiased society of high order. Children are the future assets for country.

They must be altered from negative to positive personalities. However, looking to the past experience, we have to bridge the broad gap between theory & practice. In this process, we have to erect a quality infrastructure & efficient Juvenile Justice Administration. The new legislation convey the dreams, we need to make the dream reality.

 Article by Yakshu Jindal 

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