A terrorist organization in Pakistan had asked its members to declare their age as below 18 years. This would ensure that they are tried in India under the Juvenile Justice Act instead of the Indian Penal Code.
Apprentice Act 1850 is the forerunner of juvenile justice in India, which required that children between the ages of 10-18 convicted in courts to be provided vocational training as part of their rehabilitation. Many changes and amendments went through since then, the latest being the Juvenile Justice Law 2015.

1. Juvenile between 16 to 18 years to be tried as adults.

For heinous crimes, Juveniles of 16 to 18 years shall be tried as adults. For lesser crimes called serious offenses, a Juvenile can be tried as an adult after he attains an age of 21.

2. Types of offences referred for juveniles

The heinous/serious/petty crimes by a juvenile can attract 3 to 7 years of imprisonment and no life sentence or death penalty.

3. Corrupting juveniles


Seven years imprisonment and a fine up to one lakh rupees shall be the punishment to a person who gives a child an intoxicating or narcotic substance. The penalty for child trafficking for any purpose will be up to 5 years of imprisonment with a fine of one lakh rupees.

4. For offences against juvenile


For assaulting, abandoning, abusing, wilfully neglecting or forcing a child to beg a will is punishable under this law of up to three to five years of imprisonment and a fine of one lakh rupees.

5. Treatment of juveniles under the law


As per Article 14, every person shall be equal before the law. It has been interpreted that unequal treatment may be permitted between different sets of people only if there is a clear public purpose sought to be achieved by such unequal treatment.
Date of apprehension is the criteria for distinguishing between two juvenile offenders committing the same offence. What is achieved by this law of distinguishing between two individuals on this basis is highly questionable?

6. Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000


The basic juvenile act and amendments essentially ensure convicted juveniles special protection and treatment. From a child-friendly approach up to rehabilitation is the major thrust. UN Convention on the Rights of Child (UNCRC) is the basis of this law

7. Criticism

On of the convicts was found in the infamous rape case of 2012 to be juvenile and sentenced to 3 years in a reform home and let off recently. The basic question of treating a child of 16 to 18 years of age, committing a heinous crime as an adult failed here. Juvenile Justice Board (JJB) specifies special court to consider case involving minors. Centre and state governments share the expense of setting up JJB in certain proportion depending on the states.
Does the National Motto Satyameva Jayate ( Truth alone will triumph), a mantra from the Upanishad, being correctly applied in juvenile cases?

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