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Sunday, August 29, 2010

Criminal Law - Juvenile Delinquency - 1


INTRODUCTION
This term paper aims at drawing the readers’ attention to the growing problem of Juvenile Delinquency in India, its causal factors and the possible ways of dealing with it. This paper also aims at introducing the readers to the legal scenario regarding juvenile delinquents. The main limitation of this paper is that though statistics of the Juvenile delinquency have been made available in this paper, no proper psychological research conducted on the causal factors of this problem keeping in mind the Indian scenario, could be made available. However, it seems that the general character of Juvenile Delinquency does not change from country to country. The main strength of this paper is that it has tried to understand Juvenile Delinquency in the light of the already prevalent theories of Crime while concentrating upon the relevant data about Juvenile Delinquency obtained by several studies.


Juvenile Delinquency – An Introduction


There are two distinct approaches of defining the syntax of Juvenile Delinquency[1]. One is purely legalistic that aims at restricting the quantification of the problem by putting specific qualification and does not draw a distinction between Juvenile Delinquency and Juvenile Crime. Other is the social approach that aims at conducting a symptom and diagnostic study and believes in the axiom of “catch them young” to prevent the Juveniles from actually committing a crime.
The Juvenile Justice Act, 1986 (hereinafter referred to as the Act) defines a delinquent juvenile as a boy less than 16 years of age or a girl under 18 years of age who has been found to commit an act or omission made punishable under any law in force at a given time.[2] The Act envisages a class of “neglected and uncontrollable children” amongst the delinquents. A neglected juvenile has been defined as a child who-

Ø  Is found begging; or
Ø  Is found without having any home or settled place of abode or any ostensible means of subsistence or is found destitute, whether he is an orphan or not; or
Ø  Has a parent or guardian who is unfit to exercise or does not exercise proper care and control over the child; or
Ø  Lives in a brothel or with a prostitute or frequently goes to any place used for the purpose of prostitution, or is found to associate with any prostitute or any other person who leads an immoral, drunken or developed life.

This class of neglected and uncontrollable juveniles is dealt with by the Juvenile Welfare Boards[3] and not by the Juvenile Courts.
There are three notable points or features of this definition that require and merit some amount of deliberation, these are:
1.      A juvenile is said to be a delinquent when he is found to commit an act or omission made punishable under any law in force at a given time.
2.      The maximum age of a boy is 16 years
3.      The maximum age of a girl is 18 years

The definition can thus be called a legalistic definition. Such a definition has been criticized on several grounds that must be looked into, these are[4]:

Ø  Such restrictive and denotative meaning shuns many ‘behavior’ that may not be crime in itself but that may lead to criminal actions in future.
Ø  A statutory definition of this nature may exclude many types of questionable activities from the field of Juvenile Delinquency, which may ultimately mean an avoidance of symptoms and diagnostics.

However, it has been conceded that such a definition does hold good if Juvenile Delinquency is seen as merely an issue of law and order and administration of justice for the following reasons[5]:

Ø  Lack of judicial infrastructure
Ø  Absence of structural flexibility of the whole system of administration of justice due to many constraints.
Ø  Wide discrimination involved on the basis of age.
Ø  Threat of the whole administration giving way due to heavy pressure that a discriminitative system has to bear.
Ø  Unnecessarily dragging the children to the world of criminality and the kingdom of the prisoned criminals for minor petty and projected areas of offences, which are not really crimes.

Yet, the social value based definition is widely preferred due to the following reasons[6]:

Ø  A social definition shall draw a distinction between Juvenile Delinquency and Juvenile Crime.
Ø  Such a definition shall concentrate upon the symptoms of criminality that a child may show.
Ø  Such a definition due to its diagnostic nature shall prevent a child from actually committing a crime by enabling the correctional institutes to intercept before a crime is actually committed by a child.

It is so believed by the supporters of such a definition that one of the main reasons why the Juvenile Justice System (JJS) has not been able to prevent the growth of Juvenile Delinquency is that it is not able to intervene unless a juvenile commits a crime the JJS cannot intervene which in turn is because the Indian legal system does not widen the area of delinquency.
These ‘symptoms’ of a child gradually turning into a criminal have been referred to as ‘borderline sub – delinquency acts’ and / or ‘pre – delinquency acts’[7]. A few examples are:

Ø  Drug addiction
Ø  Disregard to authority
Ø  Absentism from school
Ø  Forceful collection of public donation.
Ø  Going to see films meant for adults.

It has been suggested that as a definition of the nature as explained immediately above has its own limitations as it has a touch of uncertainty and no system can work upon uncertainties, there must be an integration of the two approaches towards Juvenile Delinquency and hence, a new definition and a new approach must be adopted. Three ways of achieving this have been suggested[8]:

1.      All borderline sub delinquency acts should be included in the definition of Juvenile Delinquency under the relevant At so that correctional agencies can timely intercept.
2.      All borderline sub delinquency and pre delinquency acts should be included in a School Code and the non – formal authorities like the school authority may be given power to take correctional steps or to refer the matter, wherever found necessary to the formal authority under the relevant Act.
3.      Alternatively, comprehensive Juvenile Code covering all acts of delinquency, sub – delinquency and pre delinquency be made, authorizing all formal as well as non-formal correctional authorities, to take suitable steps at various levels of delinquency.

The third alternative has always been considered the best for following reasons[9]:

Ø  An amended Act may take a piecemeal look at the problem.
Ø  The School code cannot cover those who do not come to the school.
Ø  A comprehensive Juvenile Code may give due emphasis on the non formal correctional agencies like parental control, school control, control of the class (tribal) council, control of the village panchayat authority.
Ø  The Juvenile Code can proactivate the teacher’s control and the control of the school authority both as a directive authority as well as a correctional institute.
Ø  While an Amended Act will have many limitations of a sectional look, Juvenile Code will have a total pragmatic coverage at every level.

However, though the third alternative appears to be extremely lucrative, it has its own serious flaws. The most important flaw is the emphasis on the non-formal correctional agencies like parental control, school control, control of the class (tribal) council, control of the village panchayat authority; the same point which is considered as the crux and the main strength of the approach. Though the idea of stressing upon roles of non-formal agencies is great, it is difficult to envisage the State dictating the parent child relationships. Also, keeping in view the fact that India and specially its rural areas are still divided on basis of caste, creed, religion and sect; and that there have been several incidents of a community exploiting another in lieu of its superiority complex, giving the tribal councils and village panchayats the power and the opportunity to exploit the children of a suppressed community in that area. In brief, impartiality and justice cannot be ensured in such bodies. Much emphasis has been given to the role of schools as a directive authority as well as a correctional institute. However, in order to ‘meaningfully’ confer such a status on a school it must be ensured that the schools are able to provide the children with positive role models who are normally absent from the lives of those children who are termed as Juvenile Delinquents. In the Indian situation where schools exist and function (!) without teachers it seems impossible for the schools to perform the function of a directive authority and a correctional institute. Also, faced with the fact that the Indian schools haven’t yet been introduced to the culture of ‘School Counselors’, a culture that can play a significant role in streamlining kids with a tendency to turn delinquents, it seems improbable that Indian schools are yet ready for such a responsibility. It may be argued though by visionaries that we need to ‘Dream’ to achieve in reality. Though a great ‘vision’ such an optimistic view cannot be taken in this case as it is always a mistake giving power to an authority that is not ready to handle it.
As a concluding observation thus it seems that for present Indian situation the definition of Juvenile Delinquency as in the Juvenile Justice Act, 1986 is perfectly adequate.
Defining Juvenile Delinquency was the first step taken in the systematic study of Juvenile Delinquency. The second step shall be to discuss the important elements of the chosen definition. The important elements of the definition have already been enumerated above. As the first element dealt with the legalistic nature of the definition – a point extensively deliberated – focus now shifts to the second and third elements, which are:

Ø  The maximum age of a boy is 16 years
Ø  The maximum age of a girl is 18 years

It must be noted here that the definition does not prescribe the lower age limit of a Juvenile after attaining which his/her acts may term him/her as Juvenile Delinquent. It merely prescribes the maximum age limit after which the person shall not be regarded as a juvenile.
The absence of a lower age limit is one of the most important criticisms of the definition. The second criticism is the distinction between the maximum age limit of such Juveniles between males and females. The distinction drawn in this definition seems to be absolutely useless, obsolete and product of a legislative mind pre occupied with either a holy picture of womanhood or necessity of giving women a special privilege in all fields. There seems to be no another reason why women should be allowed to get away with two more years of criminal acts while men should be the underprivileged with two less years to get away without much loss after committing an offence. Agreed that the discriminatory structure of our social structure results in weakening the fair sex, the law does not need to discriminate here as the logic behind the concept of Juvenile Justice System is that upto a certain age, a person cannot be held responsible for his acts as he is mentally incapable of either completely comprehending the nature and consequence of his act or is incapable of preventing himself from being a mere puppet in the hands of his social conditions. As the Law of Majority also believes in the same principle it is only logical to declare the maximum / upper age limit to be the age of majority.
There have been arguments that keeping the age of majority the upper age limit of a Juvenile Delinquent, certain concessions must be made for young persons of rural area and for those from economically backward classes[10]. The argument given in support of such discrimination is that they do not get an equal exposure to various natural and social phenomena that exist in the growingly complicated urbanized and industrial settlement. However, such an opinion is difficult to concede with, as theft is a wrong in rural as well as urban areas. The basic moral values structure that governs our perception of right and wrong and develops the superego, which in turn prevents us from committing a wrong, is universal in nature. Moreover, the industrialization that has brought with it over exposure to the Western values system is a source of unusual stress to the urban children – a burden that the rural children are almost always free from. Thus, if discriminations have to be made on such basis perhaps they should be made in the favor of the urban children who have more exposure to criminal activities and more opportunities to even enter criminal syndicates at a very early age.
In order to deal with any problem it is important that the extent of the problem is known. Thus, the next section shall be devoted to acquainting us with the severity of the problem faced by India and certain socio economic facts about the same.

Extent of the Problem


To point out that juvenile delinquency is on increase in India is to state the obvious and this can be easily demonstrated with the help of statistics. What is probably more interesting and useful is the rate at which delinquency continues to rise amongst juveniles and the variety of crimes that are committed by these juveniles. Also, it may be significant to find out the patterns of juvenile delinquency in terms of differentials based on age, sex and religion.
In 1992 and 1993[11] the total number of juvenile delinquents apprehended in India for cognizable crimes under Indian Penal Code and local and special laws was 21,358 and 20,067 respectively. The facts, which emerged from the figures, are as follows[12]:

Ø  Juvenile Delinquency, is essentially a problem of males, about 18.3% of the offenders are females.
Ø  Though the number of violent crimes like murder, rape, robberies and rioting are quite substantial, the number is much smaller as compared to offences like theft and other non – violent crimes.
Ø  The crimes committed under the special and local laws like gambling and bootlegging are much more than the Penal Code crimes.
Ø  The highest number of arrests was made for the offences of theft, gambling, rioting and others under the Prohibition Act.

There have been several studies on the socio economic background of the Juvenile Delinquents in order to understand the nature of the problem in a better manner.

Socio – Economic Background Of Juveniles Apprehended[13]

1.      Family Background
About 80% of juveniles, about whom information was available, were living with parents and guardians and about 20% were homeless.
2.      Economic Set – up
The income of about 50% of the parents or guardians was less than five hundred rupees per month and of 33% between five hundred and one thousand rupees; only a microscopic number of cases i.e., about 0.021%, the income crossed the three thousand rupees per month mark.
3.      Religion
Figures over the years indicate that Muslims, Christians and others are slightly over represented compared to Hindus in regard to the population ratio amongst juvenile delinquents.
4.      Education
More than 65% of the Juveniles apprehended in 1993 were illiterates and the number of those having gone up to primary classes were 40%. Only 5% of the arrested juveniles had studied up to metric level and above.
5.      Sex
The number of female juveniles apprehended is much lower than that of boys. In 1987, the number of boys and girls was 1,66,407 and 13,555 respectively. However, there has been a steady rise in the percentage of girls over the years the percentage for the year 1993 being about 20%.
6.      Regional Distribution
Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh have the dubious distinction of topping the list in the Penal Code and special laws categories respectively. In the case of Uttar Pradesh the figures are 0.4 extremely low though it does not lag behind in terms of contribution to general criminality.

Though the report is very informative regarding the socio – economic background of the juvenile delinquents, it has certain flaws. Though it specifies the percentage of juveniles who came from families, it does not specify what kind of families and the kind of relationship they share with their families. It also fails to specify whether or not these families themselves have a criminal background or not. These are a few pertinent questions that needed to be answered because as shall be seen in the next section family background plays a very significant role as a causal factor of this problem. It must also be remembered that a plausible reason why juvenile delinquency is not seen so oft in the upper income strata of the society could be because the law enforcing agencies like Police dances to the tunes of money – a possession no upper income strata family shall relent in losing to save their heirs from acquiring a criminal record early in life.
Equipped with the knowledge of the extent to which the dreadful enemy has spread its tentacles and illuminated by a valuable record on the socio – economic background of the apprehended delinquents, it is now fruitful to observe the causal factors of Juvenile Delinquency.

Causal Factors of Juvenile Delinquency


The causation of Juvenile Delinquency is based upon the same framework as of crime causation, which in turn has been studied for last two centuries. The result of theorization of two centuries was innumerable theories all of which suffered from the malady of narrow mindedness as they emphasized on one single factor and termed it as the only or at best the most important factor behind crime causation. These theories can be grouped under four genoric structures namely[14]:

1.      Philosophical attempt to understand and unearth the causal phenomena that provides reason for every crime causation
2.      Physiological understanding showing that crime is fundamentally based on biological reasons
3.      Psychological understanding of the problem explaining that in ever crime causation there remains a psychological reason
4.      Sociological explanation of the problem attempting to co relate a social phenomenon with every criminalistic action.
This paper shall attempt a holistic view towards all these approaches and shall not refrain from adopting any of the approach if it seems to provide an explanation to the ‘Why’ of Juvenile Delinquency.

Psychoanalysis And Criminality
Modern psychoanalysis began with the work of Sigmund Freud (1856 – 1939). A number of different ideas are drawn together under psychoanalysis, but the general stand point is that inner, dynamic forces are used to explain human behavior. Psychoanalytical theorists perceive criminal behavior to be the result of some mental conflict of which the criminal may be virtually unaware. Furthermore, they claim that this conflict is always present as an internal conflict between the demands of reason and conscience, and those of instinct. A victory for instinct can lead to thoughts and deeds, which will often be socially unacceptable. Everyone experiences this conflict, but some manage to control instinct better than others. If the conflict is not resolved in a socially acceptable way, it may be expressed in ways, which are criminal. The behavior will tend to get worse unless the resolution of the conflict is helped or treated. Criminality is then seen as one of the outward signs of the disease, or of the problematic resolution of the mental conflict, just as physical deformity may be the manifestation of a physical disease[15].
Freud split the personality into three parts[16]:

1.      Id
2.      Ego
3.      Super Ego

The Id is an unconscious area of mind and the most primitive portion of the personality from which the other two are derived. It is made up of all biological urges – to eat, drink, excrete, to be warm, to be comfortable and to obtain sexual pleasures. It is driven by desire. It woks on the pleasure principle irrespective of the consequences and is illogical. It characterizes the unsocialised and unrestrained individual. It’s drives need instant gratification and has no conception of reality. It is the part of the personality with which one is born. It holds all the desires even those society considers wrong or bad, and to that extent Freud says it needs to be repressed. The repression or control of the Id is carried out by the Ego and Super Ego[17].
The Ego does not exist at birth, but is something the individual learns. It is largely conscious, although some of it is unconscious. It tempers the desirous longings of the Id with the reality of what might happen if it is not controlled, and it also learns the reality of how best to serve the Id[18].
The Super Ego is largely part of the unconscious personality. It may contain conscious elements, for example, moral or ethical codes, but it is basically unconscious in operation. It is the conscience, which exists in the unconscious areas of mind. The super ego characterizes the fully socialized and conforming member of the society[19].
The theory explains Juvenile Delinquency as a vast majority of delinquent acts can be explained by the presence of an unduly strict superego or an unduly weak super ego because or an unduly weak Ego which will lead to ‘victory’ of Id.
The most important influences on the individual are the precepts and moral attitudes of the parents or those in loco parentis[20]. These are the people most loved, most respected and most feared. They are also the people with whom a child has his or her earliest contacts and relationships. These are essential to the child. The super ego is often seen as the internalized rules and admonitions of the parents and through them, of society. The super ego acts on the ego; thus when a child desires a biscuit it may not take one even if it could not be punished because the child starts to reprove itself. The super ego may therefore praise and punish the child in the same way as the parents do and so the child slowly learns an inner set of rules or values. If the behavior of the child lives up to the thoughts of the Super Ego, it experiences the pleasant feeling of pride but if they do not the child’s own Super Ego punishes it by self-reproach and feelings of guilt.
The Ego therefore has two masters, each to be obeyed and each pushing in different directions. The Id demands pleasure, the super ego demands control and repression. The result is inner conflict, which can never be fully resolved. Freud agreed that for the super ego to develop, the parents scold the child to become anxious that their love will be removes. The next time the child considers a ‘bad’ deed; he or she will feel anxiety that the parents may leave. The anxiety is unpleasant and leads to repression of the deed. As the child does not understand the difference between thought and action, the mental desire is also repressed in case the parents discover it: thoughts as well as deeds become repressed. The basis of control or repression is therefore seen as built upon relationships with parents or those in loco parentis. This means that pathogenic family patterns may be responsible for Juvenile Delinquency. This conclusion derived from the Psychoanalysis theory is supported by various sociological studies. It is the appropriate time now, to refer to these studies.
Of the various pathogenic family patterns that have been emphasized in the research on juvenile delinquency, the following appear to be the most important[21].
Ø  Broken homes.
A number of investigators have pointed out to the high incidence of broken homes and multiple parental figures in the background of delinquent youths. In general, delinquency appears to be much more common among youths coming from homes broken by parental separation or divorce than from homes broken by the death of a parent.
As we have seen, however, the effects of broken homes vary greatly. Even when the disruption is due to parental separation or divorce, that when he is raised in a home torn by parental conflict and dissension.
Ø  Parental Rejection And Family Discipline
Here reference is not made to broken homes but to homes where one or both parents reject the child. When the father is the rejecting parent, it is difficult for a boy to identify with him and to use him as a model for his own development. In an early study of 26 aggressively delinquent boys Bandura and Walters (1963) delineated a pattern in which father rejection was combined with inconsistent handling of the boy by both parents. To complicate the pathogenic picture, the father typically used physically punitive methods of discipline thus augmenting the hostility the boy already felt towards him as well as modeling aggressive behavior. The end result of such a pattern was found to be a hostile, defiant, inadequately socialized youth who lacked normal inner controls and tended to act out his aggressive impulses in antisocial behavior.
Similarly, Shainberg (1967), in a study of 1500 young ‘military delinquents’ (primarily servicemen who had been A.W.O.L), reported that 90% of them had severe difficulties with their fathers, whom they perceived as vague, lacking in warmth and difficult to communicate with. The relationships were so full of conflict that he had given up trying to maintain them, while the fathers, unable to communicate with o discipline their sons, had abandoned their roles in child rearing altogether. On the other hand, the sons frequently reported having had good relationships with their mothers. In this context, it is interesting to note the findings of Bacon, Child and Berry (1963) who studied the incidence of crime in 48 non – literate societies. They found a much higher incidence of theft and personal crime in societies where the family typically restricted opportunities for the young boy to identify with his father.
The detrimental effects of parental rejection and inconsistent discipline are by no means attributable only to the father. As we have seen, such behavior by either parent is associated with aggression, lying, stealing, running away from home and a wide range of other difficulties (Langer et al. 1974; Lefkowitz, Husemann, Walder & Eron, 1973; Pemberton & Benady, 1973). Often, too, inconsistent discipline may involve more complex family interactions, as whn a mother imposes severe restrictions on a youth’s behavior and then leaves policing to a timid or uncaring father who fails to follow through. In a study of middle class families with a delinquent offspring, for example, Singer found that the result of such a family pattern was a building up of resentment and tension on the part of the adolescent towards the mother followed by acting out in antisocial behavior.
Ø  Sociopath Parental Models
Several investigators have found a high incidence of sociopathic traits in the parents of delinquents – particularly but not exclusively in the father (Glueck & Glueck, 1969; Ulmar, 1971; Bandura, 1973). These included alcoholism, brutality, antisocial attitudes, failure to provide, frequent unnecessary absences from home and other characteristics that made the father an inadequate and unacceptable model. Elkind (1967), for example, cited the case of a “father who encouraged his 17 years old son to drink, frequent prostitutes and generally ‘raise hell’. This particular father was awakened late one night by the police who had caught his son in a raid on so called massage parlor. The father’s reaction was, “Why aren’t you guys out catching crooks?” this same father would boast to his co workers that his son was ‘all boy and a chip off the old block’. Sociopathic fathers and mothers may contribute in various ways to behavior of girls as well. Covert encouragement of sexual promiscuity is fairly common, and in some instances there is actual incest with the daughter. In a study of 30 delinquent girls, Scharfman and Clark (1967) found evidence of serious psychopathology in one or both parents of 22 of the girls, including 3 cases of incest and many other types of early sexual experience. These investigators also reported a high incidence of broken homes (only 11 of the 30 girls lived with both parents) and harsh, irrational and inconsistent discipline:
Scharfman and Clark concluded that the key factors in the girl’s delinquent behavior were:

1.      Broken homes, combined with emotional deprivation
2.      Irrational, harsh and inconsistent parental discipline
3.      Patterns of early sexual and aggressive behavior modeled by psychopathic parents.

Here the interaction of pathogenic family conditions in the etiology of delinquent behavior can be readily seen.
In evaluating the role of pathogenic family patterns in delinquency, it may be emphasized that a given pattern is only one of many interacting factors. For example, the term ‘broken home’ is a catchall term to describe the absence of one or both parents because of a variety of conditions, including desertion, separation, death or imprisonment. A home may be ‘broken’ at different times, under varying circumstances, and have differing influences, depending on the individual involved and his total life situation. Consequently, the effects of a give family pattern can only be assessed adequately in relation to the total situation.
Psychologists recognize that other factors such as relationships with individuals outside the family and the general social environment can also affect the formation of the super ego. Hewitt and Jenkins (1947) categorized a group of 500 juveniles into three types:

1.      Inhibited, shy and seclusive (an over developed Super – Ego)
2.      Unsociable and aggressive (under developed Super Ego)
3.      Members of a socialized, delinquent gang (having a dual Super Ego).

The gang members possess a normal Super Ego with respect to the rules of the gang, which therefore they obeyed, but they have inadequate or under developed Super Egos with respect to the rules of society. The behavior of each individual gang member depends on whether or not he is with the gang. If he is, he obeys gang rules. If he is in the outside world, he feels no compulsion to obey the ordinary, everyday rules of society. Such a pattern indicates the strong influence, which the environment can exert, especially peer groups. Here again, we may refer to some sociological studies that support the theory.

Undesirable Peer Relationships

While not typically a gang experience, delinquency does not tend to be a shared experience for both males and females. In their study of delinquents in the Flint, Michigan, area., Haney and Gold (1973) found that abhout two thirds of delinquent acts were committed in association with one or two other persons, and most of the remainder involved three or four other persons. Usually the offender and companion or companions were of the same sex. Interestingly enough girls were most likely than boys to have a constant friend or companion in delinquency. Unfortunately, there is little research data on the effects of associating with delinquent friends or companions, and such effects probably vary, depending on the individual.

Instinct Theories and the Role of Biological Factors[22]
The oldest and probably the best-known explanation for human aggression is the view that human beings are somehow “programmed” for violence by their basic nature. Such instinct theories suggest that human violence stems from inherited tendencies to aggress against others. The most famous supporter of this theory was Sigmund Freud, who held that aggression stems mainly from a powerful death wish (thanatos) possessed by all persons. According to Freud, this instinct is initially aimed at self – destruction but is soon redirected outwards, towards others.
A related view was proposed by Konrad Lorenz, a Nobel Prize – winning scientist. Lorenz (1966, 1974) suggested that aggression springs mainly from an inherited fighting instinct that human beings share with many other species. Presumably, this instinct developed during the course of evolution because it helped ensure that only the strongest and most vigorous individuals would pass their genes on to the next generation.
While, referring to theories that refer to aggression as an innate tendency in human beings, it is necessary to refer to Lombroso’s theory. However, Lombroso’s theory cannot be included in the category of instinct theories. He believes that criminals are born and are a throw back in the cycle of evolution.
Most social psychologists reject, or at least seriously question all these theories for the following reasons:

i.            Human aggression stems from a very large number of different factors; thus emphasizing innate tendencies, as a primary cause of such behavior seems inappropriate.
ii.            In most animal species, the kind of fighting behavior described by Lorenz does not lead to serious injury or death of the combatants. In contrast, human aggression is far more deadly: each year, millions of persons are killed and tens of millions are injured in assaults by other human beings. Innate tendencies to engage in such lethal behavior make little sense from an evolutionary perspective.
iii.            Human aggression takes a tremendous range of forms – from ignoring another person or spreading false rumors abut her to destroying the target’s property or attacking this person directly, either verbally or physically. It is hard to imagine all these forms of behavior could be the result of innate tendencies or urges.
iv.            The frequency of instances of dangerous physical aggression, in which individuals are seriously hurt or even killed, varied tremendously across different cultures – perhaps by a factor of fifty or more.
v.            The rate of violence within a given culture can change drastically over time as social conditions change.

The complete rejection of the social psychologists of the view that human aggression is an innate tendency in humans or is an instinct seems to be a narrow-minded approach. While criticizing the instinct theories, the social psychologists state that in most animal species, the kind of fighting behavior described by Lorenz does not lead to serious injury or death of the combatants. In contrast, each year, millions of persons are killed and tens of millions are injured in assaults by other human beings because of human aggression. They also criticize these theories on the basis that human aggression takes various forms ranging from indifference to politics to direct verbal or physical aggression whereas in animals it is difficult to imagine such a variety of modes of aggression in animals. However, while criticizing the instinct theories on these grounds fail to take into account a very basic fact that humans have a more developed brain which in turn leads to a variety of ways of expression as well as an extraordinary ability to understand science and use it in ways either beneficial or destructive to humanity. Thus, the instinct to aggress manifests itself in more developed modes of expression than it does in humans. These theories are also criticized on the ground that the frequencies of instances of dangerous physical aggression, in which individuals are seriously hurt or even killed, vary tremendously across different cultures. Also, the rate of violence within a given culture can change drastically over time as social conditions change. However, this does not form any basis of criticism if a stand is taken that though aggression is caused due to instinct carried over by us in the evolutionary process, socialization processes can modify, control or eve perhaps eliminate this instinct in humans. This is perhaps even possible because humans have a more developed and powerful brain than any other species on the Earth. An approach similar to the one advocated above has been taken by the social psychologists in relation to the theories relating to biological factors’ contribution to human aggression. They do accept the possibility that the genetic factors play some role in human aggression. In addition, they recognize the potentially important role of biological factors in such behavior. Indeed, research findings point to the conclusion that the inability to restrain aggressive urges may stem, at least in part, from disturbances in the nervous system – for instance, from low levels of certain neurotransmitters such as serotonin hormones may also play a role in aggression. In one recent study on this topic, for example, participants completed questionnaires designed to measure both their tendencies to behave aggressively and their tendencies to behave in a helpful, nurturant manner in a wide range of situations. The researchers also obtained two measures of participants’ level of testosterone, an important male sex hormone. Results indicated that for both genders, the higher the testosterone levels, the higher the tendency to engage in aggression and the lower the tendency to engage in helpful, nurturing behavior as reported by the participants. This finding could provide an explanation for the conclusion derived from most of the studies on juvenile offenders that adolescent men are more prone to committing crimes than adolescent women.
Drive Theories[23]
When social psychologists rejected the instinct views of aggression proposed by Freud and Lorenz, they countered with an alternative of their own: the view that aggression mainly stems from an externally elicited drive to harm others. This approach is reflected in several different Drive Theories of aggression.
Earlier the Drive Theories concentrated on several factors leading to aggression individually as a primary cause of the same. However, unlike them, the modern theories of aggression do not focus on a single factor but draw on advances in many fields of psychology in order to gain added insight into such behavior. While no single theory includes all the elements that social psychologists now view as important, one approach – the General Affective Aggression Model, proposed by Anderson (Anderson, 1997; Anderson et al., 1996) – provides a good illustration of the breadth and sophistication of these new perspectives.
According to this theory, known as GAMM for short, aggression is triggered or elicited by a wide range of input variables – aspects of the current situation and / or tendencies individuals bring with them to a given situation. Variables falling into the first category include frustration, some kind of attack from another person, exposure to aggressive models, the presence of cues associated with aggression, and virtually anything that causes individuals to experience discomfort – from excessively high temperatures to a dentists’ drill to an extremely dull lecture. Variables in the second category (individual differences), include traits that predispose individuals towards aggression, certain attitudes and beliefs about violence, and specific skills related to aggression.
According to the GAMM, these situational and individual difference variables can then lead to overt aggression through their impact on three basic processes:

i.            Arousal – they may increase physiological arousal or excitement
ii.            Affective States – they can arouse hostile feelings and outward signs of these (example, angry facial expressions)
iii.            Cognitions – they can induce individuals to think hostile thoughts or bring hostile memories to mind. Depending on individuals’ appraisals (interpretations) of the current situations and on possible restraining factors.

This theory can prove extremely effective in understanding the ‘Why’ of Juvenile Offensive behavior and in providing perhaps an effective way of controlling the same too if these individual and situational variables are concentrated upon. It is thus imperative to consider some such input variables that especially affect adolescents – constituting the prime proportion of Juvenile offenders.

Ø  Frustration:
Frustration was one of the factors that were dealt with individually by the early theorists as a prime cause of aggression. Based on this idea, a theory known as Frustration – Aggression Hypothesis was propagated. It made two sweeping assertion that:

i.            Frustration always leads to some form of aggression
ii.            Aggression always stems from frustration.

However, it has now been accepted that such extreme stand is unacceptable and thus the hypothesis has been modified by Berkowitz (1989, 1993). According to him, frustration is an unpleasant experience, and it may lead to aggression largely because of this fact. in other words, frustration sometimes produces aggression because of a basic link between negative affect (unpleasant feelings) and aggressive behavior – a relationship that has been confirmed in many studies.
It must be added here specifically that frustration has been proved to serve a powerful determinant of aggression under certain conditions – especially when its cause is viewed as illegitimate or unjustified. This finding has pertinent relevance with the subject of study in this paper as in today’s society; adolescents are faced with various frustrating situations that are out of their control. As an instance a bright student may not be able to complete his studies because of poverty and thus feel thwarted in his progress. Such a child will experience frustration, as he has no control over the situation that is thwarting his progress. In such a case he will vent out his frustration on the society via aggression. Another example may also be the quota system in educational institutions because of which bright, intelligent and industrious students fail to get admission in colleges while others with much lower grades get admissions and also jobs by virtue of their being born in a community categorized as a Scheduled Caste or Tribe.

Ø  Exposure to Media Violence:
Literally hundreds of studies have been performed to test this possibility, and the results seem clear: Exposure to media violence may indeed be one factor contributing to high levels of violence in countries where such materials are viewed by large number of persons”. Many kinds of evidence lend support to this conclusion. For example, in short – term laboratory experiments, children or adults have viewed either violent films and / or television programs or non violent ones; then the participants’ tendency to aggress against others has been measured. In general, the results of such experiments have revealed higher levels of aggression among participants who viewed the violent films and / or programs.
Other and perhaps even more convincing research has employed longitudinal procedures, in which the participants are studied for many years. Results of such research, too, are clear: The more violent film or television programs participants watch as children, the higher their levels of aggression as teenagers or adults.
In today’s society adolescents are continually exposed to violence via television programs, movies and video games. Various movies like X men, Bond movies, Rocky movies, and martial art movies are watched for the Action Scenes in them. The adolescents are not only exposed to physical violence but also to other more subtle forms of aggression especially in the so called “Family Serials” that concentrate on mainly family politics and portray characters who plot to kill their own family members for money. In many other serials betrayal of trust and mental cruelty (which is a form of aggression) are impersonated by the main characters themselves. Such exposure to various forms of aggression ‘Teach’ new ways of aggressing against people. They may also have a desensitization effect on the young minds or even serve to ‘Prime’ their hostile thoughts i.e., due to such exposure, in an unpleasant situation, such hostile thoughts will come first and easily to their minds. Thus, exposure to media violence plays a vital role in encouraging juvenile delinquency.
It may be interesting to note here that ancient Indian philosophy has always asserted that the human mind is a plain slate on which every sense experience leaves a non-erasable impression that necessarily affects our thought processes and consequently behavior. Shades of the same approach can also be seen in Greek philosophy in Plato’s “Republic” where Plato advocates for completely censored education that bans information about wars from being taught to students and also bans drums or any beat instrument as they are supposed to excite aggression in a person. He also advocated that war songs must be heard only by soldiers and not by any other person as they breed aggression. He also went to the extent of stating that soldiers must be continually exposed to war music as it makes them warriors. Thus, it may be concluded that the adverse effect of exposure to aggression was well understood by the two most ancient civilizations and it could have saved our societies much time, energy and damage if we had accepted the age-old tradition of not seeing ‘bad things’ and followed the Gandhian concept of three monkeys.

Ø  Heightened Arousal: Emotion, Cognition and Aggression:
The excitation transfer theory suggests that because physiological arousal tends to dissipate slowly over time, a portion of such arousal may persist as a person moves from one situation to another. It further suggests that such effects are most likely to occur when the persons involved are unaware of the presence of residual arousal – a common arousal, a common occurrence, as small elevations in arousal are difficult to notice. Excitation transfer theory also suggests that such effects are likely to occur when the persons involved recognize their residual arousal but attribute it to events occurring in the present situation. This theory explains the why under some conditions, heightened arousal – whatever its source ranging from a delay to an accident – can enhance aggression in response to provocation, frustration or other factors.
In various experiments, arousal stemming from such varied sources as participation in competitive games, vigorous exercises and even some types of music has been found to increase subsequent aggression. In regard to music it must be mentioned that fast music specially that based on drum beats has been found to be responsible for many road accidents as well as arousal of aggression in people. Unfortunately. However, this is the kind of music that is preferred by today’s adolescents. Again we must refer to Plato’s censored education and the wisdom of the Indian classical music that has been found to have a soothing and calm effect on not only humans but also plants and animals. Reference must also be made to the fact that Yoga exercises – the ancient physical fitness program – always end with Shavasan – an exercise aimed at relaxing the body and mind after a rigorous exercise. Keeping in mind all these perhaps it may be concluded that the rehabilitation programs for juvenile offenders may be made more effective by using the age old wisdom of ancient Indian civilizations. Perhaps such delinquents can be taught classical music that has a soothing effect on mind – which is an antidote to aggression – and meditation that is being used in various parts of the world to overcome the detrimental effects of day-to-day frustrations and to increase patience and tolerance level in people.

Anomie, Criminality and Juvenile Delinquency[24]

Chambers Twentieth Century Dictionary defines anomie as:

“A condition of hopelessness caused by a breakdown of rules of conduct,
and loss of belief and sense of purpose in society or in an individual”

In criminological terms it is normally used to depict a state of lawlessness or normlessness.
The term was first used last century by Emile Durkheim – a criminologist and a sociologist.
Durkheim recognized that there was criminality in all societies. He saw crime as a normal occurrence and said that it is impossible t have society totally devoid of crime. He argues that crime originates in society and is a fundamental condition of social organization, therefore no social organization can be without crime. He claimed that the best examples of healthy levels of criminality were to be found in simple mechanical societies. An unhealthy level of criminality is more likely to arise in an organic society, and to be the result of the law being inadequate to regulate the interactions of the various parts of that society. The incomplete integration gives rise to anomie, one of the results of which is excessive or unhealthy levels of criminality. For him anomie was the result of alack of societal norms or regulations over peoples’ desires and aspirations. When societal norms are overthrown, resistance to new limitations, and so new norms take a long time to develop. It is at such time that suicide and homicide rise.
After Durkheim, the most famous criminological writes on anomie is the Americal Robert K Merton.
According to Merton, anomie is an endemic condition that can exist at any time and not only at times of abrupt change. According to him, society can be basically stable while part of it or even a large part of it is anomic. According to him the society sets the desires and goals sets the desires and goals sets the desires and goals for the people and the same society also sets fro them the acceptable means for achieving this end. However, the lower class does not get access to these legitimate means to achieve the goals set by the society for him. The absence of such opportunities gives rise to strain and therefore criminality in lower class juveniles.

Intelligence, Criminality and Juvenile Delinquency

There are two distinct types of mental defect, amentia and dementia. Amentia literally means lack of mind and describes a person who is born with a reduced intellect. These people are often known as subnormal. Dementia describes somebody who once had a normal intelligence but later lost it through disease, decay or accident.
The following table might give a fair idea of the medical assessment of mental retardation[25]:

The link between reduced intellect and crime was made because it was assumed that intelligence was linked to the ability to learn and understand complex societal norms and rules. Furthermore, it was considered that those of low intellect were less able to control their emotions and their behavior. It was not until the turn of the century that reasonable reliable tests to assess intelligence were produced.
The earliest reputable studies into the link between criminality and intelligence were perhaps those conducted by Goddard (1912), starting with an unscientific study of the Kalikah family; by using a subjective assessment of ‘feeble mindedness’ it largely begged the question it claimed to prove. Goddard’s later studies were more acceptable ‘scientifically’ as they used the objective IQ tests to measure for ‘feeble mindedness’. He studied the inmates of 16 reformatories and concluded that criminals are feeble minded. He even went further to suggest that all feeble minded people were potential criminals.
However, investigations in the past 50 years after 1920 largely failed to discover a connection between criminality and feeble mindedness.
More recently, the possibility of a link has been revived and has some support. The modern proponents of a link between intelligence and criminality have had a more scientific approach than their predecessors. Hirschi and Hindling (1977) fond that low IQ was as good a predictor of delinquency as the more commonly accepted factors such as social class and upbringing.
The findings from two Danish longitudinal studies suggest that the relationship is not spurious. Moffitt and associates found a negative relationship between IQ and delinquency, controlling for socio economic status (SES)[26]. They note,

Low IQ children may be likely to engage in delinquent
behavior because their poor verbal abilities limit their
opportunities to obtain rewards in the school environment

Hyperactivity or “Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity” (DSMIII) has been linked to delinquency. Children with this disorder display “signs of inappropriate development, inattention, impulsivity, and hyper activity”. Support for an association between hyperactivity and later anti social behavior comes from a number of sources:

ii.            Longitudinal studies have indicated a relationship between hyperactivity and later antisocial behavior.
iii.            Retrospective studies have indicated that parents of delinquents, who may themselves be impulsive and violent, often have histories of hyper kinetic syndrome as children.
iv.            Hyperactivity has been related to alcoholism, psychopathy and other neurological disorders in adulthood.

Numerous studies have documented a link between juvenile delinquency and specific learning disabilities. Most are based on children from predominantly lower class backgrounds, so that the relationship between learning disabilities and children arrested for delinquency is confounded with social class. For example, a recent study by Broderand coworkers challenges the hypothesis that learning – disabled children necessarily engage in more delinquent behavior. Although there was a higher incidence of learning disability problems in adjudicated delinquents, the authors found that self – reported delinquency has a low but negative relationship to learning disability. Although not necessarily involved in more delinquent activity, learning disabled youths had a greater of being apprehended. On the other hand, a recent study addressing many of these concerns, Wolf and associates found that delinquents differed markedly from both lower and upper middle class controls on language measures but not on non linguistic neuropsychological measures.

Subcultural Theories of Juvenile Delinquency[27]

In 1957, David Matza and Gresham Stykes produced a theory of delinquency that was designed to explain juvenile crimes.
The main theme of the theory is concerned with what they called drift. In contrast to many other theories, Matza’s theory of drift involves an element of free will, individual choice and judgment on behavior. This admission of free will into his doctrine is, to a certain extent, a return to the Classical school of criminology, which existed before positivism became popular.
The concept of drift basically situates the individual as drifting at will between law abiding and delinquent or criminal behavior, being never committed to either type of behavior. The state of drift is reached because of what Matza terms as neutralization. Neutralization arises from the fat that every criminal law has its limits, usually denoted by official defences to the activity, and therefore every law is qualified. Matza suggests that juveniles use these limits, extending their interpretation in ways, which allow the action without guilt or remorse: it can be justified both to self and others by pleading, say, self defence, duress or even insanity. Part of this process also involves a distortion of other areas of the dominat value system. A minor element of the dominant value system encourages individuals to seek excitement and adventure. These objects are normally made subordinate to more dominant ideals as hard work. Matza argues that delinquents take these subordinate values, extend them, and use them in inappropriate ways and time.
In Matza’s theory the individual does not fully accept or internalize any set of rules or norms, but has rather learnt a set of ‘definitions favorable to violation’, while still tacitly subscribing to many of the middle class rules.
Matza and Stykes (1957) list five justifications (before the act) or excuses (after the act) which delinquents may use to explain or neutralize criminal acts:

1.      Deny responsibility, usually by claiming that the act was a result of uncontrollable factors: an accident, parental neglect, poverty, broken home, being led astray by friends.
2.      The criminal may claim that no one was actually harmed, either physically or financially. If items are stolen for wealthy individuals, or from employers or large shops, it may be said that they can afford the loss or that the insurance company will pay. The same person might well perceive theft from an identifiable fellow individual as immoral. Again, this may be used to explain a lot of white collar and corporate crimes. A quite different set of activities, gang fights, pub brawls or domestic violence are often seen by their perpetrators as private and therefore not criminal. Domestic violence may even be perceived as being for the victim’s good. In all these cases the perpetrators may be basically law abiding but have an extended view of acceptable behavior.
3.      The claim that the victim deserved the harm caused and so is not a true victim. For examples, sex crimes, especially those committed on sex workers or pub waitresses.
4.      An offender might claim that since everyone has at some time committed a criminal act, no one is in a position to condemn him.
5.      The approval of the gang or group may be said to be more important than those of the family or of society. Thus where the group calls for it delinquency is justified. Here, reference to influence of peer groups on juveniles may be remembered as discussed earlier in this section.

Learning and Criminality

Learning can be defined thus[28]:

Any relatively permanent change in behavior
that occurs as a result of practice or experience.”

Broadly speaking there are three kinds of learning[29]:

1.      Classical Conditioning
2.      Operant Conditioning
3.      Cognitive Learning

Conditioned learning is useful to our understanding of some behavior, but is of limited use because the individual is passive. Of much more interest is Operant Conditioning. In it, the individual interacts with the environment and thereby learns what behavior will bring about the desired end. Its basis is that behavior is learnt through the use of rewards and punishment. Behavior which is rewarded will be more reinforced and become more frequent in order to maximize the rewards, and behavior which is punished or which meets with aversive consequences will be discouraged. Cognitive learning is rather different from either of the two, each of which was based on response. Cognitive learning considers the ability to understand. It might explain how people understand concepts and solve problems etc. in particular it involves learning about other people, their behavior and how we interact with them. It thus includes learning respect for the feelings of others, learning to take responsibility etc.
Generally, for a particular type of behavior to become part of a pattern it needs to fit in with the attitudes of the individual or the attitudes, which fit the behavior, which needs to be learnt. Such attitudes are learnt from interactions with each other. Most people act within what they consider to be acceptable: a strong negative attitude to crime is thus less likely to lead to violations than an ambivalent or positive attitude.
In any discussion of learnt behavior, particularly observational or modeling, the effects of media images must not be forgotten and reference must be made to prior sections where role of media in encouraging juvenile delinquency has been discussed. The effects of behaviorial learning are often thought to be related to the environment inh which individuals live, and to their social groupings, and it is at this point that Sutherland’s theoy becomes important.

Dealing with Delinquency
Juvenile institutions and training schools can be of grate help to youths who need to be removed from aversive environments and given a chance to learn about themselves and their world, to further education and develop needed skills, and to find purpose and meaning in their lives. In such settings the youths may have to opportunity to receive psychological counseling, group therapy, and guided group interaction. Here it is of key importance that peer-group pressures are channeled in the direction of resocialization, rather than toward repetitive delinquent behavior. Behavior-therapy techniques- based on the assumption that delinquent behavior is learned, maintained, and changed according to the same principles as other learned behavior can show marked promise in the rehabilitation of juvenile offenders who require institutionalization. Counseling with parents and related sociotherapeutic measures are generally of vital importance in the total rehabilitation program.   
Probation is another method that is used widely with juvenile offenders in other countries. In keeping with the trend toward helping troubled persons in their own environments, the California Youth Authority conducted. The Community Treatment Project, a 5-year experiment in which delinquents-other than those involved in such crimes as murder, rape, or arson-were granted immediate probation and supervised and assisted in their own communities. The 270 youths treated in this project showed a rehabilitation success rate of 72% during a 15-month follow-up period. In contrast, a comparable group of 357 delinquents who underwent institutional treatment and then were released on probation showed a rehabilitation success rate of only 48% (Blake, 1967). Since 90% of the girls and 73% of the boys committed to the California Youth Authority by juvenile courts can be guided into constructive behavior without being removed from their family or community. It may be noted, however, that a key factor in the success of this pioneering research project was a marked reduction in the case of supervising probation officers.
Institutionalization seems particularly questionable in the case of “juvenile status offenders”, youths whose offenses have involved acts that would not be considered criminal if committed by an adult, such as running away from home or engaging in sexual relations. In such instances, institutionalization may aggravate behavioral problem rather than correct them. For e.g., mixing juvenile status offenders and “real” delinquents in detention facilities may provide learning experiences for non-delinquents on how to become delinquents. On the other hand, failure to institutionalize delinquents who have committed serious offenses such as robbery, assault, and murder, may be a disservice to both the delinquents and the public. In essence, it seems essential to correct the “bizarre lumping” of major felonies, minor misdemeanors, and trivial violation of social norms the general label of “juvenile delinquency”. This would enable many delinquents to be dealt with educational and social-work agencies rather than the justice systems and would make it possible for treatment programs to better meet the needs of individual delinquents.
One key task in dealing with troubled youth is that of opening lines of communication with them. The behavior of even some of the most “hard core” delinquent gangs has shown marked improvement when social workers or police officers have managed to win their confidence and respect. Often such personnel can help channel the youths, activities into mobile or motorcycle rallies and other programs that provide both recreational and learning opportunities. Too often, however, as in the case of institutional and probation programs, lack of trained personnel and other resources prevent such programs.
Fortunately, legislations have been enacted and special bodies formed specifically for dealing with these problems, as shall as discussed later. The big need, of course, is not only for more effective rehabilitation programs but also long-range programs aimed at the prevention of delinquency. This would mean alleviation of slum conditions, provision of adequate and recreational opportunities for disadvantages youth. Education of parents, and delineation of a more meaningful societal role for adolescents tasks for the whole society.

Juvenile delinquency and Law

The need for and importance of progressive delinquency prevention policies and the systematic study and the elaboration of measures has been recognized internationally and treaties have been signed by countries resolving to take steps toward eliminating the problem of juvenile delinquency (The Riyadh Guidelines) adopted and proclaimed by General Assembly resolution 45/112 of 14 Dec. 1990 aims at forming policies for the elimination of this problem and states.
The policies and measures should involve:

1.      The provision of opportunities, in particular educational opportunities, to meet the varying needs of youth persons and to serve as a supportive framework for safeguarding the personal development of all young persons, particularly those who are demonstrably endangered or at social risk and are in need of special care and protection;
2.      Specialized philosophies and approaches for delinquency prevention, on the basis of laws, processes, institutions, facilities and a serve delivery network aimed at reducing the motivation, need and opportunity for, or conditions giving rise to, the commission of infractions;
3.      Official intervention to be pursued primarily in the overall interest of the young person and guided by fairness and equity;
4.      Safeguarding the well-being, development, rights and interests of all young persons;
5.      Consideration that youthful behavior or conduct that does not conform to overall social norms and values is often part of the maturation and growth process and tends to disappear spontaneously in most individuals with the transition to adulthood;
6.      Awareness that, in the predominant opinion of experts, labeling a young person as “deviant”, “delinquent” or “pre-delinquent” often contributes to the development of a consistent pattern of undesirable behavior by young persons.

It also states that community-based services and programs should be developed for the prevention of juvenile delinquency, particularly where no agencies have yet been established. According to these guidelines, formal agencies of social control should only be utilized as a means of last resort. It places emphasis on preventive policies facilitating the successful socialization and integration of all children and young persons, in particular through the family, the community, peer groups, schools, vocational training and the world to work, as well as through voluntary organizations. It makes government liable to promote and provide education to all children, a field where India sadly lags behind. It also stresses on the importance of giving special attention to comprehensive policies and strategies for the prevention of alcohol, drug and other substances abuse by young persons.
These guidelines in brief crystallize the attitude of the international community towards this problem. Though on many arenas India is unable to confirm its approach towards the same problem with the international guidelines, it has come close to following them in toto at least in theory.     
The juvenile Justice Act, 1986 (hereinafter referred to as the Act) defines a delinquent juvenile as a boy less than 16 years of age or a girl under 18 years of age who has been found to commit an act or omission made punishable under any law in force at a given time.[30] The Act envisages a class of “neglected and uncontrollable children” amongst the delinquents. A neglected juvenile has been defined as a child who-

Ø  Is found begging; or
Ø  Is found without having any home or settled place of abode or any ostensible means of subsistence or is found destitute, whether he is an orphan or not; or
Ø  Has a parent or guardian who is unfit to exercise or does not exercise proper care and control over the child; or
Ø  Lives in a brothel or with a prostitute or frequently goes to any place used for the purpose of prostitution, or is found to associate with any prostitute or any other person who leads an immoral, drunken or developed life.

This class of neglected and uncontrollable juveniles is dealt with by the Juvenile Welfare Boards[31] and not by the Juvenile Courts. It is credit to the Act that it envisages a Juvenile Welfare Board as such neglected children most of the times need guidance and help mand not retribution. Another reason for applauding the legislators is the nature of the Juvenile Courts, salient feature of which are as follows[32]:  

Ø  Separate Hearing for Children’s Cases
The juvenile Courts are exclusively meant for children. These courts are both distinct and independent of ordinary courts in terms of personnel or may be parts of the ordinary courts with wider jurisdiction. There may be whole time judges for these courts or magistrates and judges of ordinary courts may be given special duties in juvenile courts.

Ø  Informal Hearing
The proceedings in a juvenile court are characterized by the nature of the hearing which is very simple and informal compared to the one in adult courts. Unlike the adult courts, where the procedure and evidence are based on legalistic considerations, the proceedings in a juvenile court are somewhat in the nature of a confidence taking place between the judge, the probation officer, the social worker, the child and the parents. The issue, generally speaking, is not whether the child committed an alleged offence, since that is ordinarily not denied, but why he did so, and what is more relevant is social rather than legal evidence. The report of the probation officer assumes great significance in this context. The informal nature however, does not imply that the general basic rules of procedures of criminal law are disregarded.[33]

Ø  Private Hearing
Unlike the adult courts, only those who are directed concerned with the case are allowed to be present inside the court.

Ø  Curtailed Right to Counsel
Since the procedure and evidence in a juvenile court are of informal nature and the assumption being that the proceedings are in the interest of the child, it is believed that a lawyer should not present represent the child.[34]

Ø  Protection Against Legal Consequences and Stigma
The law provides certain safeguards to save juvenile offenders from the criminal stigma and from disabilities arising out of the legal consequences of an action by a juvenile court. The Act provides that no disqualification would be attached to the child delinquent due to the conviction in a juvenile court.[35]

Ø  Appeals from the Juvenile Courts’ orders
No appeal lies form an order of acquittal made by the children’s court in respect of a child alleged to have committed an offence, or order of the Board that the child is not neglected.[36]

Ø  Non-Penal Sanctions
No delinquent juvenile can be sentences for death or imprisonment or committed to prison in default of payment of fine or in default of furnishing security. The courts may allow the juvenile to go home after advice or adonition, or release him on probation under the care and supervisions of parents or nay other fit person or institution or direct the juvenile to be sent to a special school.[37] 


Rehabilitation of Juvenile Delinquents in India
The rehabilitation programs for juvenile delinquents in India can be divided into two categories:
1.      Institutional Treatment Programs
2.      Community Based Programs

Institutional Treatment Programs
Institutional programs to rehabilitate juvenile delinquents may be classified into three categories:
1.      Observation Home
2.      Juvenile Home
3.      Special Home

Ø  Observation Home
Section 2 of the juvenile Justice Act provides for the establishment and maintenance of observation homes for the temporary reception of juveniles during the pendency of any enquiry against them. At present there are more than 246 observation home in India. Besides offering basic facilities like food, shelter, medical facilities and useful occupation to the children, these homes also provide the officers to observe them at close quarters. The Act requires that the neglected children and other delinquents must be housed separately. However, the crucial role of these homes in rehabilitating children is greatly affected by the day-to-day problems encountered in the management of the homes. Contravening the provisions of the Act, all delinquents are housed together. Necessary facilities and amenities extended to the children sometimes do not meet the minimum standards. They are often overcrowded and the inmates are unable to receive individual attention, which is important for their rehabilitation. Needless to state, these homes suffer from resource constraints as well as lack of will leading to an adverse impact on the rehabilitation of the children under their care.  
Juvenile Homes and Special Homes
Generally, in correctional institutions (juveniles/special homes) two types of programs are offered to the juvenile. On the one hand, basic amenities and on the other hand, various types of education and vocational training are imparted through instructors. A classification system based on age, physical and mental health, length of commitment, degree if delinquency and character is used to enhance the effectiveness of the programs. Besides, cultural meets, parents- inmates-staff meetings, community contacts, visits to outside institutions, excursions etc., are conducted to facilitate the socio-cultural development of the inmates. All these inputs are expected to help them reform and develop a healthy personality to lead an independent and normal life in the community after their release from the institution. While achieving this, juveniles in this institution are subjected to a certain routine in the institution, which has its implication on their rehabilitation.
Evaluation of the Institutional programs to rehabilitate Juvenile Delinquents:   
Contemporary correctional institutions in the country appear to be in the doldrums. The quality and quantity of services and training offered to the juveniles is questionable and can be rightly and freely criticized. The lack-luster involvement of the staff at various levels is reflected in the painfully slow and development in the juveniles, and in their low capacity to cope with the difficulties they encounter after release. The institutions do not have adequate economic means, which affects their will to work. Most of the vocational programs/courses are also highly outdated. The zeal for and environment of correction and reformation if dying away in these institutions. In brief it can be said that these institutions are going through a crisis and this crisis is greatly and (unfortunately adversely affecting the rehabilitation of the juvenile delinquents, killing the last hope of assimilating them in mainstream.
Community Based Programs
Non-institutional or community based rehabilitation programs for juvenile delinquents may include probation release on licence, aftercare and juvenile service/ guidance bureau.
Probation
Probation as a rehabilitation measure is one of the most significant approaches in community-based corrections. Sections 19 and 21 of the Act deal with the subject of probation. Under these provisions, the probation officer is expected to obtain information regarding the antecedents and family history of the juvenile and other material circumstances likely to be of assistance to the juvenile court in conducting an enquiry. On the basis of enquiry the juvenile court gives its decision. The court may order the juvenile to remain under the supervision of the probation officer for a period not exceeding three years. In the case of such order for supervision, the court shall explain to the juvenile and his/her guardian the terms and conditions of the order. The juvenile welfare board too may instead of sending the juvenile to a juvenile home may place him under the care of any guardian executing a bond with or without surety. The probation officer often counsels the family and concerned persons to understand and face the personal or environmental problems leading to the juvenile’s delinquent behavior, so that they may mitigate the problems facing the juvenile and facilitate his rehabilitation. On the other hand the effective probation supervision ability and dedication of the probation officers are partly affected by a number of facts, which in turn affect the rehabilitation of the juveniles. These factors include services, administration and public relations of probation. The service conditions of a probation officer are highly unfavorable as there is no uniformity in pay and they are underpaid. They are not trained either. They do not secretarial assistance. The ordinary people unaware of the probation system and thus do not cooperate with a probation officer. These and many other factors combine together to make the system completely useless.

Ø  Release on license/Aftercare
Release in license is also knows as statutory and sometimes as aftercare. The difference between statutory aftercare and non-statutory aftercare is that in the former the juvenile is released on supervision on the condition that he will be returned to the institution, if he violates the conditions, whereas in the later there is no such legal binding as he is released from the institution after completing the entire period. However, the programs and services offered to both categories of juveniles are more or less similar. Section 49 of the Act deals with the release of the juvenile on license, section 12 (a, b) of the Act empower the State govt. to make rules to establish or recognize aftercare organizations for the purpose of taking care of juveniles after they have been released from juvenile homes or special homes and for the purpose of enabling them to lead an honest, industrious and useful; life. More importantly, Section 12 ( c) of the Act provides for the preparation or submission of a report by the probation officer in respect of each juvenile prior to his release on license or voluntary aftercare from a juvenile home or special home, as the case may be, regarding the necessity and nature of aftercare of such juvenile, the period of such aftercare, supervision thereof and for the submission of a report by the probation officer on the progress of each such juvenile. This report certainly facilities the planning of the aftercare programs for juveniles.  
 In the late 1950s the Advisory Committee had identified difficulties in the field of aftercare, which hold ground even today. Most of the aftercare problems are interconnected with inadequate or outdated inputs in the institution. The problem of unemployment, lack of resources and the non – cooperation of the juveniles, their family and the community pose a great threat to successful rehabilitation. Needless to state, the government has often been reactive to the sensitive issue of juvenile rehabilitation. Thus, the current trends in aftercare programmes to rehabilitate the juveniles in this country are not encouraging.



[1] Mitra N.L. Juvenile Delinquency and Indian Justice System (New Delhi: Deep and Deep Publications, 1988
[2] Section 2 (f) and (j) together
[3] Section 4
[4] Mitra N.L. Juvenile Delinquency and Indian Justice System (New Delhi: Deep and Deep Publications, 1988
[5] Id p-2

[6] Id
[7] Id
[8] Id
[9] Id
[10] Supra Note 1
[11] These and other figures have been taken from Crime In India, 1993, the publication of the Ministry of Home Affairs, Govt. of India. Cf Siddique Ahmad, Criminology Problems and Perspectives, 226 (Lucknow: Eastern Book Company 4th ed., 2001)
[12] Siddique Ahmad, Criminology Problems and Perspectives, 225 (Lucknow: Eastern Book Company 4th ed., 2001)
[13] Siddique Ahmad, Criminology Problems and Perspectives, 226 (Lucknow: Eastern Book Company 4th ed., 2001)
[14] Supra Note 1 p-3
[15] Katherine S Williams Criminology (New Delhi: Universal Publications, 2001)
[16] Morgan Introduction  to Psychology,576 (New Delhi: Tata McGraw Hill,1999)
[17] Id p-577
[18] Id p-578
[19] Id
[20] Katherine S Williams Criminology (New Delhi: Universal Publications, 2001)
[21] Coleman C James, Abnormal Psychology And Modern Life, 388( Bombay: D.B Tarporevala Sons & Co. Private Limited ed., 1988)
[22] Siegel Larry Criminoloy (Massachussets: Wardsworths Publication, 1999)
[23] Siegel Larry Criminoloy (Massachussets: Wardsworths Publication, 1999)
[24] Katherine S Williams Criminology (New Delhi: Universal Publications, 2001)
[25] Katherine S Williams Criminology 273 (New Delhi: Universal Publications, 2001)
[26] Coleman C James, Abnormal Psychology and Modern Life, 387 (Bombay: D.B Tarporeuala Sons & Co. Private Limited ed., 1988)
[27] Katherine S Williams Criminology (New Delhi: Universal Publications, 2001)
[28] Morgan, Introduction  to Psychology,140 (New Delhi: Tata McGraw Hill,1999)
[29] Id p-141
[30] Section 2 (f) and (j) together
[31] Section 4
[32] Siddique Ahmed, Criminology problems and Perspective, 240 (Lucknow: Eastern Book Company 4th ed., 2001)
[33] Section 39
[34] Section 28(3)
[35] Section 25
[36] Section 37
[37] Section 22(i) and Section 21

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