Welcome to the official blog of the Law Offices of Kr. Vivek Tanwar Advocate and Associates, where we are dedicated to providing litigation support services for matters related to the Juvenile Justice Act. In today’s blog post, we aim to shed light on the prevailing issues surrounding the Juvenile Justice Act, the legal framework for their protection, and the steps we can take as a society to combat these acts. Join us as we explore this critical subject and empower you with the knowledge to protect your rights and safety.

In the realm of juvenile justice and the welfare of children entangled in conflict with the law, academic and political discourse has long been centered on principles of reformation and rehabilitation. This article delves into the historical evolution of juvenile justice in India, the principles and definitions underpinning the Juvenile Justice Act, and the types of institutional care provided for juveniles.

The Evolution of Juvenile Justice Laws

A Shift in Thinking

When considering the history of juvenile justice, one can’t help but reflect on the words of Nelson Mandela: “With their inception, youth lawfulness has preceded the belief that the youngsters and juveniles, by dint of their relative immaturity, are less ready to control their desire, less ready to comprehend the reality of the offences and less ready to foresee the consequences of their action.” India’s journey in reforming its approach to juvenile justice reflects this shift in thinking.

The Juvenile Justice Act: A Commitment to Child Rights

The Juvenile Justice Act, introduced in 1986, marked a significant change in India’s domestic law. Influenced by the United Nations Minimum Rules for Administration of Juvenile Justice, it aimed to provide uniform laws for juvenile justice across the country. The Act laid the foundation for the principles and definitions that guide the treatment of children in conflict with the law.

Reforming Young Offenders

The Juvenile Justice Board plays a crucial role in reforming young offenders. Their measures, including counseling, community service, and group activities, are designed to transform juvenile behavior from negative to positive. In severe cases, placement in a reform facility for a minimum of 3 years may be necessary. This article explores the importance of rehabilitation in shaping the lives of young offenders.

Historical Evolution of Juvenile Justice Act in India

Global Influences

The historical evolution of juvenile justice in India reflects a shift towards a more child-centric approach. The United Nations Minimum Rules for Administration of Juvenile Justice, also known as the Beijing Rules, introduced key principles governing the treatment of juvenile offenders in 1985. These principles emphasized diversion, aiming to minimize juvenile contact with the criminal justice system, and detention as a last resort. This section of the article discusses the international influences that have shaped India’s approach to juvenile justice.

Juvenile Justice Concept

The Juvenile Justice Act defines a “juvenile offender” as a “Child in Conflict with Law.” This definition differs from international terminology and is subject to age limits specified in the Indian Penal Code. Exploring this concept is vital to understanding the nuances of India’s approach to juvenile justice.

Impact of IPC and CrPC on Juvenile Justice

The Indian Penal Code (IPC), 1860, distinguishes the punishment of children based on their age, with special provisions for those below the age of 7 and between 7 and 12. The Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) outlines the jurisdiction for juvenile cases and allows for anticipatory bail for child offenders. However, the juvenile justice system faces challenges in delivering judgments for minors, making the process more time-consuming compared to adult cases. This section discusses the legal framework and its impact on juvenile justice.

Global Comparison of Juvenile Justice Systems

Juvenile justice systems vary globally. In the United States, the system is more flexible, active, and effective. In contrast, the UK’s system focuses on protection and negative elements affecting children. Notably, India’s evolution in juvenile justice has been influenced by international conventions and principles. This section compares India’s approach to juvenile justice with other countries, highlighting the differences and similarities.

Juvenile Justice Act of 1986

The Juvenile Justice Act of 1986 marked a significant change in domestic law, influenced by the United Nations Minimum Rules for Administration of Juvenile Justice. It introduced terminology like “minor” and aimed to provide uniform laws for juvenile justice across India. This part of the article delves into the significant changes brought about by the 1986 Act and its impact on juvenile justice.

Juvenile Justice Act of 2000

The Juvenile Justice Act of 2000 aimed to align with international conventions, emphasizing rehabilitation over adversarial procedures for young offenders. Successful implementation depends on a fundamental change in the approach to juvenile justice. This section explores how the Act of 2000 continued India’s journey toward a more child-centric approach to juvenile justice.

Juvenile Justice Act of 2015

The Juvenile Justice Act of 2015 introduced notable changes, especially regarding older juveniles (aged 16 to 18) involved in heinous crimes. Critics raised concerns about the constitutionality of certain provisions and the potential violation of fair trial principles. The Act extended the definition of “child in need of care and protection” and introduced several procedural changes. This part of the article dissects the 2015 Act and the controversies surrounding it.

Important Definitions Under the Act

The Juvenile Justice Act uses various terms, including “child,” “juvenile,” and “child in Conflict with Law.” These terms have similarities and differences, reflecting the complex landscape of child rights in India. This section clarifies the terminology used in the Act, helping readers understand the legal context.

Recent Amendments in the Juvenile Justice Act

The 2015 amendments brought significant changes, including the trial of older juveniles in adult courts for heinous crimes, extended evaluation periods, and measures to protect the child’s rights. However, these amendments sparked debates on their constitutionality and potential impact on fair trial principles. The Act also introduced changes in adoption and child protection procedures. NCPCR and SCPCR play essential roles in monitoring the implementation and raising awareness of the amended Act. This part of the article discusses the recent amendments and their implications.

Recommendations of the Justice Verma Committee Report, 2013

In 2013, the Justice Verma Committee was constituted to review criminal laws in the wake of the 16th December 2012 Delhi Gangrape case. The committee put forth several recommendations, including redefining the age of juveniles involved in heinous crimes. This proposal was the result of extensive consultations with legal experts, women’s rights activists, child specialists, psychologists, and child rights advocates. The report highlighted concerns about the rehabilitation programs within Indian prisons. This section explores the recommendations of the Justice Verma Committee and their significance.

General Principles of Care and Protection of Children

The principles underpinning the care and protection of children are crucial to understanding the ethical foundation of juvenile justice in India. This section delves into these principles, including the “Best Interest of the Child,” “Presumption of Innocence,” “Right to Privacy and Confidentiality,” “Equality and Non-Discrimination,” “Participation,” “Institutionalization,” “Diversion,” “Natural Justice,” “Family Responsibility,” “Dignity and Worth,” “Safety,” “Positive Measures,” “Non-Stigmatizing Semantics,” and “Non-Waiver of Rights.” Each principle is explained in detail, providing insight into the guiding values of juvenile justice.

Two Categories of Children under the Juvenile Justice

The Juvenile Justice Act of 2015 redefined children in conflict with the law as “children” rather than “minors” and categorized offenses as small, serious, or heinous. For heinous crimes, children between 16 and 18 can be tried as adults after an initial assessment. This section highlights the two categories of children under the Act and the implications of these categorizations.

Institutional Care for Juveniles

Institutional care is considered a last resort and should only be used after a reasonable inquiry and for the shortest duration possible. This section explores the various types of institutional care, including Observation Homes, special homes, security sites, and juvenile courts. It also emphasizes the prohibition of capital punishment and life imprisonment without the possibility of release for child offenders treated as adults by the juvenile justice system.


The Juvenile Justice Act is a beacon of hope for children who find themselves entangled with the legal system. It embodies the idea that children are not lost causes but individuals who can be guided toward a better path. As India evolves and progresses, nurturing its young citizens through the principles of the Act remains a vital step toward creating a just and compassionate society.

We are a law firm in the name and style of Law Offices of Kr. Vivek Tanwar Advocate and Associates at Gurugram and Rewari. We are providing litigation support services for matters related to the Juvenile Justice Act.

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