Categories of Offences under Juvenile Justice Act

Forums Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015 Categories of Offences under Juvenile Justice Act

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  • #3167

    Section 2(45) of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015 defines ‘Petty offence’ as offences for which the maximum punishment provided under any law including the IPC, is imprisonment up to 3 years. Section 2(54) of the same Act defines ‘Serious Offence’ as offences for which punishment under any law is imprisonment between 3 to 7 years. Section 2(33) defines ‘Heinous offence’ as offences for which the minimum punishment under any law is imprisonment for 7 years or more.
    What about those offences where the minimum sentence is less than 7 years, or there is no minimum sentence prescribed but the maximum sentence is more than 7 years such as Section 121A, 122 of IPC, offences relating to counterfeiting of currency, abetment to suicide of child or innocent person and many others ? Which category (petty, serious or heinous) will these offences fall under?

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    • #3168

      In the latest judgment ‘Shilpa Mittal V. State of NCT of Delhi’ (2020) 2 SCC 787; the Supreme Court stated that the framers of the Legislation did not take into consideration the fourth category offences. ‘How and in what manner a juvenile who commits such offences should be dealt with was something that the Legislature should have clearly spelt out in the Act.’
      Considering the fact that the object of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015 is that children should be protected and treating children as adults is an exception to the rule; the Hon’ble Court remarked that the Fourth category of offences i.e. offence where the maximum sentence is more than 7 years imprisonment, but no minimum sentence or minimum sentence of less than 7 years is provided, shall be treated as ‘serious offences’ within the meaning of the Act until the Parliament takes the call on the matter.

    • #3169

      Section 82 and 83 of Indian Penal Code considers for criminal acts to the children upto 12 years. In section 82 is act of a child under 7 years of age i.e., offence done by a child under 7 years of age and section 83 act of a child above seven and under 12 of immature understanding where offence done by child is not considered as unlawful.
      In this way, the question decides its duty not on its age, but rather on its development at the time the wrongdoing was perpetrated. Accordingly, it is significant for the respondent to establish that the guilty party was not just under 12 years old at the time the wrongdoing was perpetrated, yet additionally didn’t arrive at the degree of development expected to comprehend the nature and results of his activities.
      The comprehension of childhood and advancement will be relevant with respect to the sentence to be passed against him in the event of his conviction. Incidentally, the thought of things being what they are, for instance, people up to 18 years of age, is as of now constrained by the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act 2015. After the Nirbhaya Rape case, an age get-together of 16-18 was made to treat the liable gatherings of terrible offenses, having a spot with this age pack as adults.

    • #3170

      Section 83 of the Indian Penal Code confers immunity to children up to the age of 12 from criminal liability. Now, when a child is above the age of 7 and below the age of 12, the liability is completely dependent on the maturity of the child. Which means, the maturity of the child will be taken into consideration before deciding the liability of the child. This will establish whether the child is innocent or liable for the crime.
      A definite question that arises here is, how to determine whether the child is mature enough or not? Few factors that demonstrate maturity are – the immediate action of the child after commitment of the act, the conduct and behaviour of the child during the investigation process, the nature and intensity of the criminal act committed by the child.
      Therefore, ‘Nothing is an offence which is done by a child above seven years of age and under twelve, who has not attained sufficient maturity of understanding to judge of the nature and consequences of his conduct on that occasion.’ There is only a partial defence for criminal liability under this age group because it is based on the principle of “doli capax”.
      The age of the child is given only a little attention while attending to this. It should be proved beyond any reasonable doubt that the child had ‘mens rea’ while committing the actus reas.
      In a case where a child below 12 repeats a criminal act, it may be concluded that the child has attained maturity and hence, he/she can be liable for the criminal act because he/she has repeated it. But it has to be proved beyond reasonable doubt. The conduct of the child is the only way that can make us aware in this situation. Because an act can be repeated without having enough maturity and conscientious regarding it.

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