Juvenile delinquency in India

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The law

Birth proof

HC: Birth proof must for juveniles

Abhinav Garg The Times of India Feb 02 2015 New Delhi

Age Probes Can Be Treated As Proof

In a direction that will benefit thousands of children incarcerated in jails, the Delhi high court has linked birth registration system with the juvenile justice administration to ensure that they get permanent birth certificates.

The order, once implemented, can ensure that age inquiries conducted by juvenile justice boards and child welfare committees are treated as a birth record. Once such a record is available it will be difficult for police to put children in jails meant for adults even as repeat juvenile offenders won't be able to take advantage of the loophole in the JJ Act that prescribes a fresh age inquiry every time an accused claims to be a minor.

A division bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw recently held that age inquiry under Section 49 of the JJ Act can be treated as a magisterial inquiry required under Section 13 of Birth and Death Registration Act for the delayed registration of children without any certificate.

HC came out with the order after taking into account submissions of Bharti Ali of HAQ: Centre for Child Rights and other stakeholders. Ali highlighted that a link between the JJ system and birth registration system can ensure that every child has a birth certificate.

Later, the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) held consultations and filed its report backing the proposal. The commission stressed the need to put in place proper infrastructure and tweaking of rules so that a database is maintained for age inquiries. The Delhi Legal Services Authority too said that once the police has access to age declarations in their data base they can verify if an arrested person is an adult or a juvenile, removing the current large scale reliance on bone ossification medical tests which in any case has inbuilt ambiguity of two years.

HC disposed of the matter it took up suo moto in 2011 when it realized that thousands of children had been put in jails meant for adults. It converted a letter by advocate Anant Asthana into a PIL. In his letter Asthana cited information received under RTI showing that in central jail No.7, 114 persons were shifted out to observation homes between October, 2010 to August, 2011 after they were found to be juveniles.

Asthana and the HAQ foundation alleged that police has failed to find out if the accused is a juvenile or adult at the time of arrest. In many cases, despite the family of the accused producing the birth certificate to show the young age of the arrested person, police ignored the evidence and acted only after age inquiry was conducted and it was ultimately found that the accused person is a juvenile.

Leniency: Supreme Court frowns

The Times of India Apr 07 2015

SC: Get tough on juveniles in heinous crimes

The Supreme Court requested Parliament for a “rethink“ to differentiate between juveniles involved in innocuous and serious crimes, thereby mounting pressure on the Centre for a relook at the law providing mild punishment to juveniles even when they are involved in heinous offences, reports Dhananjay Mahapatra. “A time has come to think of an effective law to deal with the situation,“ a bench of Justices Dipak Misra and Prafulla C Pant said.

The court was reacting to a case in which a boy aged 17 years and 8 months, who was part of a mob that killed nine people, was seeking advantage of friendly trial and lenient punishment under the Juvenile Justice Act. Mounting pressure on the Centre for a relook at the law providing mild punishment to juveniles even when they are involved in heinous offences, the Supreme Court on Monday requested Parliament for a “rethink“ to differentiate between juveniles involved in innocuous and serious crimes.

As the NDA government shared the court's concern, a bench of Justices Dipak Misra and Prafulla C Pant said, “It is apt to note here that there can be a situation where commission of an offence may be total ly innocuous or emerging from a circumstance where a young boy is not aware of the consequences but in cases of rape, dacoity , murder, which are heinous crimes, it is extremely difficult to conceive that the juvenile was not aware of the consequences.“

“A time has come to think of an effective law to deal with the situation“ arising from involvement of juveniles in heinous offences, the bench said. Attorney general Mukul Rohatgi had said in an earlier hearing, “The Centre understands the nation's concern and it is engaging the attention of the competent authority .“ The court's concern was expressed in a case where a boy aged 17 years and 8 months, who was part of a mob that attacked a gathering and killed nine people, was seeking advantage of friendly trial and lenient pun ishment prescribed under the Juvenile Justice Act, 2000.

The bench said,“Care should be taken to the extent that the nature of the offence has some nexus with the age in question.“

Though the bench left it to the trial court to determine the correct age of the accused and find out whether he was a juvenile at the time of commission of the crime, it said, “The issue that emerges is whether in such a situation (where the accused was part of an illegal congregation that killed nine persons), can it be conceived by any stretch of imagination that the petitioner was not aware of the consequences? Or, for that matter, was it a crime committed, if proven, with a mind that was not mature enough?“ The bench sought answers from the Centre by the first week of May .

Cabinet likely to take up bill

A bill that will allow minors between the ages of 16 and 18 years accused of heinous crimes to be treated as adults is likely to come up before the Union Cabinet on Tuesday. The juvenile justice amendment bill has retained the controversial amendments overruling a parliamentary panel's objections that the provision was discriminatory and against the UN convention of Rights of Child and Indian Constitution. The bill has been in the works for over six months. One of the amendments is that a minor above 16 years of age could be treated as an adult if he or she has committed a heinous crime like rape, murder, acid attack. The decision will be taken by the Juvenile Justice Board.

Try 16- 18 as adults (Juvenile Justice Bill, 2015)

The Times of IndiaDec 23 2015

How the Juvenile Justice Bill 2014 differs from the Juvenile Justice Act of 2000


Nirbhaya Effect: Stricter Juvenile Bill Gets RS Nod With sentiments running high over the recent release of the juvenile convict in the Nirbhaya case, Ra jya Sabha on Tuesday passed the Juvenile Justice Bill, which will amend the law to try those aged between 16 and 18 as adults if they are accused of heinous crimes such as rape and murder.

Congress and Samajwadi Party , which had been asking for the bill to be referred to a select committee, seemed to bow to the prevailing sentiment and withdrew their demand, allowing the bill to sail through. Trinamool Congress also supported the bill.

TOI has consistently campaigned for this change in the law to ensure that juveniles are tried according to the severity of their crime, not just their age. Members of the Left, however, walked out, with Sitaram Yechury saying legislations should not be passed on “sentiments alone“.

The new law also protects the rights of juvenile victims, besides dealing with issues relating to adoption as well as foster care.

The delay in the passage of the bill, which was passed by LS in May , had come under sharp focus lately with Nirbhaya's parents and some other organisations protesting against the release of the juvenile involved in the December 2012 gang-rape and murder that had shaken the conscience of the entire nation.

Nirbhaya's parents were present in the visitors' gallery during the five-hour debate in RS before the bill was passed by voice vote. Before entering Parliament, they had met Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi and minister of state for parliamentary affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi.

Introducing the bill, minister for women and child development Maneka Gandhi made a passionate plea for its early passage saying it would help arrest the rise in juvenile crime, which is reported to be the fastest rising segment of crime. “It's a compassionate bill which will at the same time act as a deterrent,“ she said. Giving details, the minister said under the new law, a juvenile offender will not be sent directly to jail. Whether the crime was committed in the frame of mind of an adult or child will first be assessed by the Juvenile Justice Board (JJB).

“The bill was started by you (Congress), finished by us but it is a matter of the whole House,“ Maneka said.

Leader of opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad recalled how the age of juvenile offender was fixed at 16 during Rajiv Gandhi's term as PM and later during NDA-1, it was increased to 18. It's now back to the same, he said.

This law will strengthen provisions for both children in need of care and protection and children in conflict with law. For the first time, offences have been clearly defined and classified as petty , serious and heinous based on provisions of IPC. The JJB has the option to transfer cases of heinous offences by such children to a children's court after conducting preliminary assessment. The provisions provide for placing children in a `place of safety' both during and after the trial till they attain the age of 21 after which an evaluation of the juvenile shall be conducted by the court. After the evaluation, the child will be either released on probation and if the child is not reformed, he will be sent to a jail for the remaining term.

At present, those under 18 can be sentenced to a maximum of three years in a juvenile reform home.

Some members said that only bringing down the age won't solve the problem. Shiv Sena's Sanjay Raut said underworld don Dawood Ibrahim committed his first crime when he was 16. “If he was nabbed at that time, he would not have become a threat today.“

“Today you are demand ing that juvenile age be reduced from 18 to 16. What if tomorrow a 15-year-old commits a horrendous crime,“ Yechury said, asking for the legislation to be sent to a select committee for scrutiny ,a demand also made by parties like DMK and NCP. After the passage of the bill, Maneka thanked all members while Nirbhaya's parents said it was a tribute to their daughter.

Trial of a juvenile as an adult: 2016

The Times of India, Aug 18 2016

Try teen as adult in rape case, says JJB

In a first order of its kind, the Juvenile Justice Board (JJB) has directed that a teenager would face trial as an adult for allegedly raping a 17 year-old girl, saying he had committed the crime “meticulously“ and in a “planned manner“.

JJB presiding officer Arul Verma rejected the submission of the counsel for the boy , whose age was assessed to be 17 years, that it was consensual relationship between him and the girl, saying there was not an iota of evidence that would lend credence to this assertion.

“The prosecutrix has taken a consistent stand with respect to the factum of rape by the CCL (child in conflict with law). The injuries on the body of the victim further substantiate this version,“ the board said.

This is the first order in a rape case since the amendment in the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015. As per section 2(33) of the Act, “heinous offences“ include the offences for which minimum punishment under IPC or any other law for the time being in force is imprisonment for seven years or more.

SC on Dec 2012 Delhi gang rape juvenile

The Times of India Dec 22 2015

Amit Anand Choudhary & Dhananjay Mahapatra TNN

Given Licence To Rape: Nirbhaya's Mom Amid raging protests against the release of the juvenile offender in the Nirbhaya case, the Supreme Court on Monday refused to put him back in the reform home, saying there was no law to keep him confined any longer as he had already undergone the maximum term of three years on being found involved in the gruesome crime.

However, the court said the juvenile could be made to undergo rehabilitation without confining him to the reform home -virtually giving oral sanction to the government to attach him to an NGO, keep him under watch and put him through a rehab programme.

Nirbhaya's parents said they had “met with disappointment at every door“. “I had hoped the judges would take it as a special case. The release is just an encouragement. It has handed a licence to all those under 18 years...to commit any crime, even rape,“ lamented her weeping mother, Asha Devi.

A vacation bench of Justices Adarsh K Goel and U U Lalit dismissed an eleventh hour petition filed by Delhi Commission for Women headed by Swati Maliwal `in limine' (without issuing notice to the juvenile), saying, “We share your concern but our hands are tied by law.“ Dismissing the plea by Delhi Commission for Women against the release of the juvenile, a vacation bench of Justices Adarsh K Goel and UU Lalit said, “The law is clear on this issue.Three years is the maximum period for which a juvenile can be kept in a reform home.You (DCW) are asking us to interpret the law in a manner to warrant retention of the juvenile beyond the legally sanctioned three years. By the process of interpretation, we cannot take away rights guaranteed under the Constitution. There is nothing in the law to retain him now. There is specific provision to the contrary that no juvenile's retention exceeds three years.“

The DCW , through senior advocate Guru Krishna Kumar and advocate Devadatt Kamat, drew the court's attention to Intelligence Bureau reports on the juvenile.“There is a serious IB report on the juvenile's mental state. It says he has been radicalised. It expresses serious apprehension that he might repeat the crime,“ Kumar said.

The attempt to present a dramatic scenario of the juvenile, now an adult, capable of repeating the crime did not persuade the apex court to entertain the DCW's petition as it stood firm on the legal sanction behind the interim order sought by the commission, whose chairperson was present in the courtroom.

With Nirbhaya's parents becoming the rallying point for protests against the juvenile's release, DCW had rushed to the court close to midnight on Saturday and attempted to get the case listed for hearing.

In another important plea made during the hearing, the DCW virtually blamed the Delhi government for not putting a reform programme in place at the home where the juvenile was for three years. Kumar said, “For three years, the juvenile has not undergone any reform process as no such programme was in place in the home. Let the court set up an expert body to examine his mental condition and report back to the bench on the need for making him undergo further reform and rehabilitation course.“

As the hearing appeared to be going the other way for DCW , additional solicitor general Pinky Anand stood up said the Union government supported the petition to keep the juvenile at a place under strict vigil.

The bench threw the same question at the ASG, “For how long can the juvenile be kept at the reform home? The law says three years. If you want him to be kept, you should have brought in a law.“

Anand said the requisite law was under the legislative process. But the court refused to entertain DCW's plea saying the juvenile's rehabilitation could go on without detaining him.

Year-wise statistics

2004-2013, 2014: Juvenile crime

2004-13: incidents and rate of juvenile crime in India

The Times of India

2010-14: Incidence of juvenile crime in India i) as a percentage of total crime, ii) per 1,00,000 of population. Causes of rise in juvenile crime.Link with education and family income; Graphic courtesy: The Times of IndiaDec 23 2015
Crimes by juveniles: 2010-2013 (NCRB data)

Apr 08 2015

Recently, the Supreme Court requested Parliament to rethink on the differentiation in quantum of punishment between juveniles and adult offenders in case of serious crimes. The National Crime Records Bureau's data shows that in the past decade, the rate of juvenile offences has steadily increased. In 2004, the rate for juvenile crime was 1.77 incidents per lakh of population. It had risen to 2.58 by 2013. However, juvenile incidents as a percentage of total cognizable offences cognizable offences have not increased by much because the overall rate of increase in crime too is much faster than population growth.

2005-15, rate of crime by juveniles

See graphic, Rate of crime by juveniles, 2005-15, Types of crimes committed, Cases registered under total cognisable IPC crimes, Total IPC crimes registered against juveniles, Juveniles apprehended per lakh population, state-wise

i) Rate of crime by juveniles, 2005-15;
ii) Types of crimes committed.
iii) Cases registered under total cognisable IPC crimes
iv) Total IPC crimes registered against juveniles
v) Juveniles apprehended per lakh population, state-wise; Graphic courtesy: November 11, 2017: The Times of India

2012: Juvenile delinquency in India

Juvenile delinquency: 2012
Some heinous crimes committed by juveniles: 2012-16; Graphic courtesy: The Times of India, June 5, 2016
Juvenile crime in india, 2012-14; Graphic courtesy: The Times of India, December 10, 2015

100 juveniles booked for murder, 63 held for rape

Dwaipayan Ghosh TNN 2013/06/14

The Times of India

New Delhi: The number of juvenile offenders in the city registered a jump in 2012 with a hundred apprehended for murder and 63 for rape, a National Crime Records Bureau report has stated. Though the capital fared better than states like Bihar and Maharashtra, psychologists say it’s time for some on-ground action .

Also, 74 minors were detained for attempt to murder and six for culpable homicide. Eighteen were held for kidnapping and abduction, 10 of whom had targeted girls, while 13 were held for dacoity.

Figures from Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra show that the juvenile crime graph has seen a big spike. While 183 juveniles were held in Maharashtra in 2012 for murder, in MP the figure was 197.

That these youngsters can be as brutal as adults was seen recently when a Class XII student was murdered by his four minor friends in Greater Noida, with police finding his body in Aligarh, 27 km away.

According to psychologist Dileep Majumder, this data calls for a rethink on the legal definition of adolescence. “The report of the Justice Verma Committee has not really dwelt on the adolescence debate. The committee should also have had psychologists throwing light on the mental health of juveniles apprehended for rape which would add perspective to the debate on whether or not the age of trial should be lowered from 18 years to 16 years,” Majumder said. With access to internet, psychiatrists feel that the “aspiration levels of adolescents and adults are slowly becoming the same”.

Year-wise statistics/ Delhi

2012-14: 300% rise in Delhi

The Times of India, Jun 18 2015

Somreet Bhattacharya

Constant exposure to violence, no fear of law and lack of understanding about the consequences of committing a crime have made children prone to violence. Quoting a study , mental health experts said there has been a 300% increase in the number of children committing heinous crimes in the past three years, and most of them were found to be influenced by their surroundings. In 2013, juveniles in conflict with law were found to be in volved in 163 cases of rape and 76 cases of murder.

2014: a small increase in India

The Times of India, Aug 22 2015

2010-14: % of juvenile crime to total cognizable crime

Himanshi Dhawan

Crimes by juveniles saw slight rise in 2014

But repeat offences go down

While there has been a marginal increase in the number of juveniles in conflict with the law, the number of repeat offenders has declined. According to data from the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), the number of juveniles in conflict with the law increased from 31,725 in 2013 to 33,526 in 2014. However, the number of juveniles apprehended for recidivism (repeat offence) came down from 9.5% in 2013 to 5.4% in 2014.

The percentage of juvenile crimes to total cognizable crimes also came down a shade from 1.2% in 2013 to 1.18% in 2014. Incidence of total crime increased from 26.47 lakh in 2013 to 28.51 lakh in 2014.

This comes at a time when amendments to the Juvenile Justice (JJ) Act are under consideration at Rajya Sabha. The bill, among other things, allows for juve niles between 16-18 years of age in conflict with the law to be treated as adults on the discretion of the Juvenile Justice Board.

“Even the data on recidivism does not warrant any regressive change in the JJ law as proposed by the WCD ministry,“ Bharti Ali of Haq: Centre for Child Rights said.

The number of juvenile delinquents from economically weak backgrounds also saw an increase as did the number of illiterate or poorly educated delinquents. According to NCRB data, while 52.9% of juveniles apprehended in 2012 belonged to families with annual income of less than Rs 25,000, the percentage went up to 55.6% in 2014. About 52% of juveniles apprehended in 2012 were either illiterate or educated only up to primary level. This figure went up to 53% in 2014.

Ali also pointed out that more IPC crimes were committed by juveniles in 20122013 (13.56%) as compared to 2013-2014 (5.65%).

2014: 18% increase in cases in Delhi

The Times of India, Aug 20 2015

Somreet Bhattacharya

18% rise in crime by juveniles

The increasing involvement of juveniles in crime has been a major cause of concern for Delhi Police for the past few years.According to the NCRB data, cases involving juvenile offenders have gone up by 18%--2,876 minors were tracked down in 1,946 criminal cases registered in 2014.In 2013, the figure was 2,140 against 1,590 cases. Last year, 585 juveniles were charged with theft.Like 2013, they were found to be involved in more rape cases than murders.

Of the 2,876 juveniles apprehended, 2,547 were found to be involved in cognizable offences; 1,001 were sent home after admonition and advice, while 474 were released on probation. As many as 382 juveniles were sent to special homes, 40 faced fines and 146 were acquitted. The number pending cases stood at 648.

Among those apprehended, 771 had dropped out of school at the higher secondary level; 122 were primary school dropouts, and 767 were illiterate. As many as 2,118 were found to be living with their parents, while 84 were homeless. A total of 1,252 children came from families with an annual income below Rs 25,000, while 687 belonged to the income group of Rs 25,001-Rs 50,000 per annum.

In 2014, juveniles were involved in 1,007 cases of theft, burglary or snatching, followed by 134 cases of rape and 70 murder. Of the total number of apprehended juveniles, 1,500 were in the age-group of 16-18 years.

2016: 35.6% of the crimes in Delhi

More juveniles in conflict with law, December 1, 2017: The Times of India

Crimes committed by juveniles saw an increase in the capital in 2016. From 1,671 cases in 2014 and 1,981 in 2015, the figure rose to 2,368 in 2016, making Delhi the number one ranked among metropolitan cities with 35.6% of the crimes committed by minors across the country.

The year saw 3,610 juveniles being apprehended, of whom 2,977 lived with parents, while 220 were homeless teenagers, according to the NCRB data. Only 75 of them had studied up to high school, 1,463 had received primary education and 1,007 had had no schooling at all.

Of the 2,368 crimes committed by minors, 766 cases were related to theft, 370 to robbery, 143 to rape, and 138 cases were for outraging women’s modesty, 66 for sexual harassment, 37 for assault, 15 for stalking and 46 were for abduction and kidnapping.

And while crime against children showed a dip to 7,392 cases against 8035 in 2015, Delhi still led the category. After the capital’s 39.6% share in this genre, the cities to follow were Mumbai (3,400 cases) and Bengaluru (1,333 cases), accounted for 16.9% and 7.0%, respectively.

Nationally, most crime cases against children involved kidnapping & abduction

(67.7%), followed by cases under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act

(24.2%) read with Section 376 (rape) of IPC. In Delhi, 37 children were killed, 24 were abandoned and 11 faced attempts on their lives. Two cases of infanticide and seven of foeticide were reported in 2016.

For their involvement in crimes against children, 2,589 men and 42 women were arrested in 2016 and chargesheets were filed against 2,331 men and 25 women. Later, 314 men and three women were convicted, 455 men and three women were acquitted.


Rajshekhar Jha & Siddhivi Singh TNN, Nov 25, 2023: The Times of India

Heart Of Darkness: Major Crimes By Minors Shoot Up

10 Juveniles Held For Murder Every Month In Delhi; Return To Life Of Crime Big Worry Too

New Delhi : The gruesome case of a 16-year-old boy frenziedly stabbing another teenager over money in northeast Delhi and dancing over his lifeless body is not an isolated incident. According to police estimates, 10-12 minors are apprehended in the city every month for murders. The number is substantially higher if the figures of delinquents involved in all other crimes are included.

Last year, for example, 152 juveniles were apprehended for murder. In 2021, the figure stood at 125 while it was 96 a year earlier. This year, till August 15, around 112 minors were apprehended for homicide. The graph has been steadily heading north, the numbers show. In the past 3-4 years, the number of juveniles caught after a range of crimes has been hovering around 3,000, a police estimate indicates.

It's not that the problem has seen a sudden spike in the last 2-3 years. Data from the National Crime Records Bureau related to 2017-2021 lists more than 13,000 crimes committed by juveniles, with over 16,000 minors apprehended for their criminal acts. The data has a grisly list of 314 murders, 412 attempts to murder, over 500 rapes, 982 instances of causing hurt or grievous hurt, more than 475 cases of assault or criminal force against a woman with intent to outrage her modesty, 1,401 robberies and more than 6,600 thefts committed by juveniles.

When asked about possible solutions, cops and juvenile care officers highlighted the need for the government to focus on reformation and shelter homes in the city. Recidivism, or juveniles being nabbed for repeat offences, they said, remained a major concern and a serious challenge for the cops. "The numbers in itself suggest that a more serious approach needs to be taken about reforming juvenile delinquents. Awareness campaigns, for parents and minors both, need to be held regularly," said a juvenile care official who didn't wish to be named.

The cops also say that access to violent material on smartphones adds to the problem. "During our investigation, we discovered that the juveniles often inculcated the negative aspects of movies and social media, such as wanting to become like a character who kills people,” said the officer.

A senior officer cited the case of Mohammed Sameer, also known as Maya Bhai, who murdered an Amazon executive a few months ago. "He had just turned 18 and had been released from a reformation home two weeks before the crime,” said the officer, whose teams cracked the case. “The minor had also been apprehended earlier this year for a three-day shooting spree. Upon release, he wasted no time in returning to a life of crime. He left the cops baffled with his live appearance on Instagram before the crimes."

TOI analysed some recent cases involving minors in the capital and found that grief, anger and grudges were a common thread. Between 2020 and 2023, teenagers were apprehended and charged with murder at a rate that grew almost at the same pace as adults, police data shows. Almost 500 juveniles were apprehended and charged with murder in the last three years.

Among the most talked about cases this year is the September killing of a 20-year-old man by a group of eight minors. Then there was the case in July in which three juveniles allegedly stabbed a minor boy after an argument. In October, a juvenile was held for killing a man for Rs 200 in northwest Delhi's Samaypur Badli. Days later, a minor stabbed a 19-year-old man in a case of revenge killing in northeast Delhi’s Welcome.
Investigators have also noted the trend of juveniles using social media to "advertise" themselves apparently to establish their supremacy among their peers. The minors have often been found to be uploading visuals of the raid on their house or the CCTV footage of their criminal act on their Instagram profiles to garner 'likes’ and ‘shares’.

"They think that getting more likes will make them famous and attract the attention of notorious gangsters,” said an officer. "They are influenced by the lifestyle of gangsters and want to enter gangs." The officer felt that parents should keep under constant watch the use of social media by teenagers, especially the aggressive ones.

Rape and murder by juveniles

2002-2012: Rape by juveniles

143% spurt in rape by juveniles in past decade, record shows

Deeptiman Tiwary, TNN | Aug 24, 2013

The Times of India Aug 24, 2013

Government data shows crimes by juveniles — specially rape and abduction of women — has seen an exponential rise in the past decade. While rape by juveniles has recorded a 143% spurt, abduction of women has jumped by 380% even though overall rise in juvenile crimes recorded under various sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) has been only 50% against figures for 2002. Even theft (64.5%) and murder (86.4%) have recorded smaller jumps compared to rape and abduction by juveniles.

It has also been observed that the share of teens — aged between 16 and 18 — in juvenile crimes has steadily increased. From 48.7% in 2002, it has gone up to 66.5% in 2012. In 2011, it stood at 63.9%.

Maharashtra, in particular, has had a poor show as far as controlling juvenile crimes are concerned. With 4,570 cases of juvenile crimes, Maharashtra was second only to Madhya Pradesh (5,446) and together with states like Assam (2,345), Chhattisgarh (2,180), Rajasthan (1,880) and Andhra Pradesh (1,593) accounted for 64.5% of all juvenile crimes. It also ended up with maximum juvenile arrests — at 4,221 — in the 16-18 age group.

In cases of rape by juveniles too, Maharashtra was among top five states in 2012 with 89 cases, next only to Madhya Pradesh (249), UP (110) and Rajasthan (102). Delhi — notorious for its attitude towards women and infamous for the December 16, 2012 gang rape involving a minor accused — recorded 57 rapes by juveniles last year.

Given that the alleged accused in the Mumbai gang rape have turned out to be petty thieves, Maharashtra has more reasons to worry as it accounts for maximum thefts by juveniles accounting for 19.8% of all juvenile thefts in the country.

A Mumbai Police officer explained, "Controlling juvenile crimes is a challenge as it is not merely linked to law and order but also the socio-economic dynamics of the society. Most juvenile criminals come from extremely poor backgrounds, start with stealing and then slowly start indulging in bigger crimes, including robbery, murder and rape. So many of them go back to their old ways even after getting caught and spending time in juvenile homes. It's not just the fear of the law that will stop this."

Data from National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) backs the analysis. More than 78% of juvenile criminals came from families earning less than Rs 50,000 a year.

2010-2012: Juvenile rapists

Juvenile rapists on the rise across the country

Jayaraj Sivan, TNN | Jun 19, 2013

The Times of India

CHENNAI: Even as a debate rages over whether or not criminal offenders in the 16-18 age group should be treated as juvenile delinquents, instances of juveniles coming into conflict with the law, especially in cases of heinous crimes such as rape, are on the rise.

Between 2010 and 2012, there was a 233% increase in juveniles getting apprehended on rape charges in Tamil Nadu. While Odisha saw the maximum increase in percentage terms (411%), in actual numbers Madhya Pradesh (284) still accounted for maximum juvenile rapists in the country, as per the latest statistics released by the National Crime Records Bureau for 2012.

Uttar Pradesh reported the second highest number of juvenile rapists with 123 arrests. There were 109 arrests in Rajasthan, 106 in Maharashtra, 89 in West Bengal, 87 in Odisha and 81 in Andhra Pradesh. New Delhi, which is gaining notoriety as the rape capital of India, reported 63 arrests of juveniles on rape charges. In Tamil Nadu and Kerala, 30 juveniles each were arrested on rape charges and 13 were apprehended in neighbouring Karnataka.

While a section of society advocates lowering the age of juvenile delinquents and meting out deterrent punishment to tackle such crimes, psychologists and child rights activists differ.

2013: rape and murder by juveniles


Grave crisis:158% rise in rapes by juveniles

Raj.Shekhar@timesgroup.com New Delhi:

The Times of India Jul 15 2014

Cops Say Hardened Delinquents Mock Law

The release of some disturbing figures by NCRB (National Crime Records Bureau). The involvement of juveniles in cases of rape in the capital shot up by 158% in 2013 (163 cases) as against 2012 (63). And there was a 30% increase in overall crimes committed by juveniles during the same period.

One hundred and sixty three juveniles were apprehended on rape charges and 76 in murder cases last year.

That the law is not proving to be a deterrent is quite evident. The involvement of juveniles in the trademark crime of burglary and snatching also went up. There were 928 cases in 2013 as against 523 the year before. Going by these statistics, the concern expressed by the minister is quite valid. In fact, since the Nirbhaya case, Delhi Police has been demanding that the juvenile age limit be brought down to 16.

“Recently , three boys--aged nine, 12 and 14 --took a seven-year-old girl to a park on the pretext of plucking mangoes and took turns to rape and sodomize her in west Delhi's Paschim Vihar. Also, a juvenile servant masterminded arobbery and murder of a war hero in Patel Nagar in early June. However, the punishment for them will be negligible. Most of the juveniles we catch are aware that being underage grants them a special status,” said a senior cop.

Police say they are helpless in tackling crimes committed by minors, especially in the borderline age-group. Police officers recall the case of Sonu, who burgled and set houses on fire. He would openly threaten them, saying he would be out in a month as he was 16 and teach the cops a lesson. The special task force of south district had nabbed a criminal who roamed around with a fake age certificate and claimed to be a minor whenever he was caught.

In the past three years, juveniles have been found involved in rapes, gruesome murders of elderly and robberies. A gang of five minors who had dramatically escaped from a city juvenile home last year on October 5 amid rioting and arson had murdered a jeweller's wife in Mayur Vihar a month later and fled with 50kg of silver jewellery and Rs 10 lakh in cash from the house. A juvenile who was just 10 days short of being a major was among them.

About a dozen break-outs from correctional homes were reported in the past two years.

However, police stood by as mute spectators while juveniles vandalized the homes as they weren't allowed to go in. Times View This newspaper has consistently argued for making the definition of who is a juvenile flexible based on the nature of the crime. This is by no means a novel idea. Many countries follow such a principle of not making the distinction between adults and juveniles absolute. This is necessary because at stake here are not just the human rights of the accused but also the rights of those whom they have victimized. In many parts of the world, a balance is achieved by calibrating the age below which a person is considered juvenile to the nature of the crime. For heinous crimes like murder or rape, the age limits are lower. Given how often juveniles in India are involved in such violent crimes, we need a similar approach to the law.

2013: Attacks on women rise 132%

Govt: Attacks by juveniles on women rose 132% in 2012-13 New Delhi TIMES NEWS NETWORK The Times of India Nov 28 2014

Assault on women by juveniles with juveniles with the intent to outrage their modesty rose by 132% in 2013 compared to the previous year, minister for women and child develop ment Maneka Gandhi told the Rajya Sabha on Thursday .

Citing National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) data, the minister said the percentage of crimes committed by children in the 16-18 years age group had also increased in relation to the total crimes committed by children across all ages.This percentage rose from 48.7% in 2002 to 66.3% in 2013.

In response to another question, Maneka said her ministry had conceptualized a scheme to establish a `One Stop Centre' to assist and support women affected by violence at 660 locations covering all districts in the country in a phased manner. The centres aim to facilitate medical aid and police assistance, provide legal counselling management, psycho-social counselling and temporary shelter, if required, she added.

Juvenile crime against women doubles between 2012 and 2014 in India; Graphic courtesy: The Times of IndiaDec 22 1015
Juvenile crime in Delhi: 2012-14;Graphic courtesy: The Times of India
Dec 22 2015

2014-16: One juvenile held for rape every 4 hours in India

Chethan Kumar, Oct 25 2017: The Times of India

Juveniles and heinous crimes in 2016
From: Chethan Kumar, Oct 25 2017: The Times of India

At least one juvenile is arrested on charges of rape every four hours on an average in India since the last three years. Similarly , one juvenile is apprehended every two hours for assault on women with intent to outrage their modesty . Five such juveniles are charged with one cognisable crime or the other.

Union home ministry's latest data reveals that between January 1 and December 31, 2016, some 2,054 juveniles were arrested for rape (one every 4.2 hours to be exact) and 1,627 were apprehended for assaulting women.

In fact, the number of ju veniles held for rape has been consistent for the last three years. There were 6,039 arrests of juveniles between January 1, 2014 and December 31, 2016 (that's one arrest every 4.3 hours). Juveniles arrested for assaulting women is higher in 2016 compared to the data of last three years as a whole, when one juvenile was charged every two hours.

Sociologist Samata Deshmane of the Bangalore University said,“It's flawed socialisation that allows people to view women in a way that encourages them to hurt, or even destroy them.“ In 2016, one juvenile was arrested on charges of murder every eight hours and one for attempted murder every seven hours.

2015: Murders, state-wise

The Times of India, Sep 01 2016

Dipak Kumar Dash & Pervez Iqbal Siddiqui

Uttar Pradesh had 68% share of the total number of honour killings reported in 2015, the latest report of the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) says. The abnormal increase in the number of such cases from one in 2014 to 131 in 2015 has stumped many .

The NCRB report released reported a seven-fold rise in honour killing cases in 2015, Uttar Pradesh registering the largest number. Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh followed.

Honour killing as a separate segment was introduced in the NCRB report in 2014.

Similarly, UP registered steep rise in political murders --from two in 2014 to 28 last year. Jharkhand, Kerala and MP came second, third and fourth in political killings in 2015. Last year 96 political killings were registered across the country against 64 the previous year.

On the stunning rise in honour killings, an NCRB source said: “Whenever we notice an abnormal spike in cases, we get them verified with the state crime records bureau before publishing them. This procedure was followed even in the case of Uttar Pradesh.“ Senior state police officers told TOI that the sharp rise in honour killings could be because of better public awareness. Registration of such cases may rise even further because social media use is becoming popular even in the hinterland.

UP DGP Javeed Ahmed said honour killing was a social crime and believed stringent police action could act as a deterrent to some extent. “But, it is about creating awareness that such killings aren't a solution to complex social issues,“ he said. Former Lucknow University vice-chancellor Roop Rekha Verma refused to accept that only one honour killing took place in UP in 2014. Many such crimes were not even reported, believes Verma.

“People have now started reporting such crimes. Earlier these were lumped with just other murders,“ said Madhu Garg, state general secretary of All India Democratic Women's Association.

The NCRB report also showed an increase in murders resulting from love affairs and illicit relationships.

2016: a 5% increase in violent crimes

Juveniles apprehended for violent crimes, 2015-16; apprehended by crime type, 2016
From October 19, 2017: The Times of India

See graphic:

Juveniles apprehended for violent crimes, 2015-16; apprehended by crime type, 2016

2016-19: crimes against women

2016-19: crimes against women by juveniles
From: Bagish K Jha, July 12, 2021: The Times of India

See graphic:

2016-19: crimes against women by juveniles


Chethan Kumar, October 3, 2020: The Times of India

In India, at least one minor was arrested for raping a woman or girl every eight hours in 2019, while more than three on average were held for assaulting a woman daily, the latest data on juveniles in conflict with law shows. The data, released by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), shows that 2,750 juveniles were arrested in 2019 on charges of rape, assault on women and attempted rape, cumulatively. Of these, 1,383 and 1,327 were arrested for rape and assault, respectively.

Comparatively, the number of those arrested on all three charges cumulatively was nearly 15% more in 2018, while those arrested on rape specifically was around 17% more than in 2019.

A psychologist, while stating that an adolescent mind does not worry about consequences, argued for better sex education, among other necessary measures.

A state-wise analysis of those arrested for rapes and assault on women show that Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Rajasthan account for most of them — together, they account for 58% of juvenile arrests on charges of assaulting women, and 47% of those apprehended for rape. Madhya Pradesh tops the chart in both categories, with 295 arrests for rape and 348 on charges of assault, followed by Maharashtra (197 and 365).

Behaviour, trends

Crimes by juveniles, state-wise


Crimes by juveniles, state-wise, 2019
From: Bagish K Jha, July 12, 2021: The Times of India

See graphic:

Crimes by juveniles, state-wise, 2019

Tamil Nadu

2014, 95% delinquents live with parents

Most TN juvenile offenders live with parents, only 5% homeless

Sindhu Kannan,TNN | Nov 10, 2014 The Times of India

CHENNAI: If you thought children without family guidance are more likely to take to crime, these statistics will disabuse you of the notion.

A majority of the 2,949 juveniles detained for being in conflict with law in the state in 2013 lived with their parents or guardians at the time they committed their offences, show statistics from the State Crime Records Bureau (SCRB), Tamil Nadu (TN). The data shows that only 5% of juvenile offenders were homeless, contrary to the widespread perception that most children who run afoul of the rules do not have parents or older relatives to supervise them.

The SCRB statistics reflect the findings of a study, 'Juvenile Delinquency and Family Structure', by students of Elon University, North Carolina, which international journals have published. The study found that the less communication there is within a family and the less stable the structure of a family is, the more likely a child is to engage in delinquent activities. It said family can play both negative and positive roles in the development of children and that juvenile delinquents are often the product of fragmented families.

The assumption that education is likely to deter children from committing offences may also be misplaced. Of the juveniles detained in Tamil Nadu, 1,250 went to primary school or higher. Only 327 did not have any schooling.

Though half of the state's juvenile offenders were from poor families, worryingly, middle-class families accounted for 20% of the children who committed offences.

Psychologists say the functioning of a family, impact of disruption in a family, and being raised by a single parent are crucial to whether or not a child is likely to display delinquent behaviour.

"Children who are rejected by their parents, those who grow up in families with considerable conflict and those who are inadequately supervised are at the greatest risk of becoming juveniles in conflict with the law," counsellor Preethi Manoharan said.

"Monitoring becomes increasingly important as children enter adolescence and spend less time under the direct supervision of their parents and more time with their peers," she said. "Lack of monitoring is reflected in the parent not knowing where the child is at any given time, whom the child is with, what the child is doing or when the child will be home."

Most of the state's juvenile offenders were guilty of theft, with the second largest number being involved in burglary. Fewer juveniles faced charges of murder or attempted murder. No juveniles were involved in cases of criminal breach of trust or trading in counterfeit currency.

Tamil Nadu recorded a marginal decrease in offences by juveniles this year at 2,949, compared to 3,000 in 2012.

Socio-, economic- educational- profile of delinquents

Educational level: 2020

Ambika Pandit, Sep 17, 2021: The Times of India

Of the 35,352 juveniles apprehended in 29,768 cases in 2020, just 1,088 had studied beyond higher secondary and as many as 2,552 were illiterate. In terms of family background, over 29,000 juveniles lived with their parents and 76% of those apprehended were in the age group of 16 years to 18 years.

The data shared in the Crime in India 2020 report of the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) is telling as it shows that 9,252 of the juveniles in conflict with law had education just up to primary level. The maximum number of juveniles (17,494) had studied up to matriculation and 4,966 had education up to higher secondary level. The data provides insights into the world of juvenile crime and while lack of education may not surprise, the fact that many lived with parents and were not street kids suggests households of low means often located in congested areas where kids are exposed to crime from a young age.

‘1,885 minors involved in 1,668 Pocso cases’

A comparison with previous years shows that offences committed by juveniles declined by 7.8% in 2020 when compared to 2019 (32,269). The number of offences in 2018 was 31,591. In case of the stringent Protection of Children From Sexual Offences (Pocso) Act, the data shows that 1,885 juveniles were involved in 1,668 offences against children.

The age group data shows 41 of those apprehended were below 12 years. As many as 559 juveniles were between 12 to below 16 years. The maximum number of juveniles 1,285 of them were within 16 to below 18 years age group. The data also shows that among crimes under the IPC, there were 1,154 offences involving juveniles related to assault on women to outrage her modesty.

Among IPC crimes, 842 cases related to murder and 981 were of attempt to murder. In the category of offences against public tranquillity, there were a total of 1,028 offences, including 875 cases of rioting and 122 linked to unlawful assembly. Juveniles were involved in offences under The Unlawful Activities Prevention Act in five cases and the NCRB data for 2020 records 260 cases under The Arms Act.

Latest NCRB data shows that 9,252 of the juveniles in conflict with law had education just up to primary level. The maximum number of juveniles (17,494) had studied up to matriculation and 4,966 had education up to higher secondary level

Statistics of juvenile delinquency: 2001-11

























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