18% rise in crime by juveniles

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.

Statistics about juvenile crime have shown a steady increase of juvenile arrests from 1987 to 1994.

These large numbers of people were focused in small areas around British cities, and without the readiness of employment or occupation there was a high crime rate complemented by an ever-increasing population....

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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.

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Many of the decisions a young person makes can affect the rest of his or her life—and juvenile crime is just one of the bad decisions a young person can make.

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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.

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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“.

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“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.

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That is what is happening to many underage juvenile all over the United States; they are being sent to adult prisons for crimes that do not deserve such severe punishments.