Law And Juvenile

Child or Juvenile as per existing laws is a person who is under the age of eighteen years.

This definition of Juvenile is now accepted universally as per the directions of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC).

As per the Indian Laws, the Juvenile Justice Law of India is governed by Care and Protection Act of 2000. As per Section 2 (k) of the Juvenile Justice Act, 2000 a “child” or “juvenile” is a person who is below the age of eighteen.

Definitions of Juvenile/Child under various national legislations:

  • Child Marriage Restraint Act, 1929. This is the earliest law which defines the term ‘Child’.
    • As per Section 2 (a) of the Law, “Child” is a person and if he is a male, he should have attained twenty one years and in case of female should have completed eighteen years of age.
  • Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, 1956
    • Section 2 (a) of the Immoral Trafficking Act defines “Child” as a person who is below the age of sixteen years.
  • Child Labor (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1986
    • Section 2 (ii) of the Child labor law defines the “Child” as a person who is below the age of fourteen years.

Children/Juveniles need care and protection (CCNP)?

The Section 2 (d) of Juvenile Justice Act clearly defines what does a child in need of care and protection means:

  • Child who is homeless and does not have any place for living and is without any apparent means of survival.
  • Child who is dependent on begging or working for survival or is a street child.
  • Child who is living with a guardian or a person who is significant to cause harm or injure or kill the child. Also in case there is a possibility of abusing, neglecting or threatening the child in future by that person.
  • Child who is mentally unstable or physically challenged and does not have anyone to look after his/her affairs. Also, a child suffering with incurable or deadly disease without any support.
  • Child whose guardian or parent is debilitated and cannot look after the affairs and livelihood of the child.
  • Child whose parents are missing or could not be found after considerable enquiry. Also, the child whose parents are not willing to take the responsibility or has abandoned the child.
  • Child who is subjected to sexual abuse, torture, exploitation or any other activities which is illegal as per the Juvenile law.
  • Child who shows symptoms or susceptibility of getting into drug trafficking or abuse in the future.
  • Child who has a possibility of being abused in the future for unconscionable gain.
  • Child who has been a victim of natural calamity, civil turmoil, rebellion or army conflict.

Juvenile/Child in conflict with law (JICL)

Section 2 (l) of the Juvenile Justice Act, 2000 clearly defines the term “juvenile in conflict with law”. As per the Juvenile Act of 2000, a child who is a juvenile and has committed an offence prior to attaining the age of eighteen is said to be a ‘juvenile in conflict with the law’.


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