In a news headline that shook the country with terror early in September, a 7-year old student from Ryan International School, Gurgaon was murdered in the school premises. The case saw multiple investigations and allegations for quite a few months before settling upon an 11th-grade student as the murderer. The criminal, a juvenile, reasoned for his action saying that he wanted to force the school into postponing the exams and the parent-teacher meet.
A 7-year old was snatched of his short-lived but immensely precious existence because there was a 15-year old imprudent delinquent on the other side.
History of Horrendous Juvenile Delinquency
While Pradyuman Thakur’s death has raised several crucial questions in the current social set up, our society has seen many horrendous acts of juvenile delinquency in the past. The most dastardly of all cases occurred in 2012 when a juvenile was allegedly the main criminal in a gang-rape case that took the whole country by storm. The case witnessed a series of angry and determined protests from the public and the polity due to the Juvenile Justice Law which prohibited his trial as an adult since he was six months short of being 18. The severity of this crime and the lack of proper punishment for it might have set up an example of delinquency in the society.
A 17-year old boy from Delhi killed a pedestrian after hitting him with his Mercedes. Similar cases of murder, rape, and burglary have emerged from all over the country where the criminal deems to be a juvenile.
A shockingly disgusting story came from Delhi where a 4-year old boy was accused of sexually assaulting a girl from his class. The boy had locked the girl in the washroom and fingered her with pencils and his hands.
Where is Juvenile Justice Headed?
After a series of such mind-boggling cases, it would certainly shame the society to look at the direction the children are headed towards. A number of factors contribute to such impervious acts of delinquency and it is both the socialization and the society to be held responsible for it. But when it comes to the law, there has been but little progress. After the odious 2012 Delhi gang-rape incident, the Government of India passed the Juvenile Justice Act (2015). This act creates a Juvenile Justice Board from every court which deals with cases regarding Children in Conflict with Law (a child offender).
The onset of this act acclaimed much applause from the public. But its implementation, like every other law in India, lacks effectiveness. Various glitches and lack of proper participation by institutions have made a chaos out of this act. Even after the arrival of stricter rules for delinquency, there has not been much improvement in the continually degrading scenario. According to the National Crime Records Bureau, the number of delinquency acts has increased from 23, 25,272 in 2011 to 29, 49,400 in 2015. This figure clearly demonstrates the shambles juvenile justice is headed towards.
It is high time now and a clarion call indeed for the society to wake up to the monstrous situation we are creating for ourselves. The stakes have never been higher to find proper solutions for a problem like this. The children, the torchbearers, are going into disarray and the consequences will be direr if no step is taken on time. It is our responsibility as citizens to spread awareness among our fellow men to cure this issue. Educational institutions, medical organizations, and family can provide significant help in improving the present condition.