Children in India constitute about one third of the country’s population. Sadly, the majority of them can be classified as juveniles in conflict with law or children in need of care and protection. Despite the various legislative enactments framed by the Parliament in dealing with the best interests of the child, the conditions of children have hardly improved. Their constitutional and statutory rights have been denied and this has led to a society where children have started committing crimes of unthinkable magnitude. In a rehabilitative system of criminal justice, as is followed in India, the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act 2000 defines juveniles as any person below the age of 18 years. However, the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection) Bill, 2014 envisages to treat juveniles of the age of 16 years and above, accused of heinous offences, as adults in a criminal court. The paper will critically analyse the changes sought in the bill and explore as to whether the reduction in the age of criminal responsibility is the correct way forward in the aim to attain justice.
juvenile, juvenile justice, India, protection, 2014, bill, critical analysis, IJRJ, Internet Journal of Restorative Justice