What is Juvenile Delinquency and discuss how the criminal justice system of Pakistan deals with the Juvenile?

(1) Introduction

Juvenile delinquency refers to a large variety of behavior of children, which society does not approve. The society expects performance of some obligations by the children, and the children’s failure to meet these obligations is called juvenile delinquency. Rapid urbanization and industrialization have caused this serious problem in modern societies.

(2) Meaning & Definition Of Juvenile Delinquency

(i) Meaning


Juvenile means anyone, who is below an age that is specified in statute.


Delinquency is derived from a Latin word. This Latin word is “delinquere”: de means away while linquere means to leave. Therefore, delinquere means to leave or to abandon.

Juvenile Delinquency

The criminal act or offence of a young person, who is below the age that law specifies for maturity, is called juvenile delinquency.


(a) Minor’s Participation In Crimes

Juvenile delinquency refers to participation of minors in crime.

(b) Abnormality

Juvenile delinquency is a kind of abnormality. When a person has not reached the age of maturity according to law and deviates from the course of normal social life and exhibits a behavior that is dangerous to society, his behavior is called juvenile delinquency.

(c) Failure

If a person is below an age that is specified by law, his failure to abide the laws is called juvenile delinquency.

(d) Violation Of Law & Commission Of Crime

Juvenile delinquency is act of violation of law and Commission of a crime at a very young age by a person, who is below an age that is specified in law.

(3) Causes Of Juvenile Delinquency

Juvenile delinquency is not caused by any single factor Rather it is an end product of many causes:

  • (i) Biological factors
  • (ii) Psychological factors
  • (iii) Mental factors
  • (iv) Personality characteristics
  • (vi) Family or home factors
  • (vii) School factors
  • (viii) Social factors

(i) Biological Factors

Following biological factors cause juvenile delinquency:

  • (a) Hereditary factors
  • (b) Constitutional defects

(a) Hereditary Factors

Study on criminals and their characteristics reveals that child inherits the tendency of juvenile delinquency.

 (b) Constitutional Defects

Inborn mental deficiency, speech defects, deafness, blindness, brain injuries etc. are constitutional defects. Such defects result in loss of control over behavior and, consequently cause juvenile delinquency.

(ii) Psychological Factors

Following psychological factors cause juvenile delinquency:

  • (a) Intellectual weakness
  • (b) Weak super ego
  • (c) Emotional insecurity, lack of affection & inferiority feeling
  • (d) Emotional instability

(a) Intellectual Weakness

The children, who suffer from intellectual weakness, cannot think systematically. Therefore, they commit violation of social rules.

(b) Weak Super Ego

Super ego serves check on the individual’s behavior. When the child has no fear of being detected by anybody and has no inner check in inner self, it becomes very easy for him to commit anti-social acts.

(c) Emotional Insecurity, Lack Of Affection & Inferiority Feeling

Emotional insecurity, lack of affection and inferiority feeling cause delinquent behavior.

(d) Emotional Instability

It is due to emotional instability that child is, sometime, happy and, sometime, sad. Such instability causes delinquency juvenile.

(iii) Mental Factors

Mental factors like anxiety, stress, and frustration etc. cause delinquency juvenile.

(iv) Personality Characteristics

Personality characteristics like irresponsibility, lack of control, emotional and social maladjustment etc. are the causes of delinquent behavior.

(v) Family Or Home Factors

Following family or home factors cause juvenile delinquency:

  • (a) Broken family
  • (b) Poverty
  • (c) Unemployment
  • (d) Birth order
  • (e) Discriminatory treatment
  • (f) Defective discipline
  • (g) Quarrels between parents
  • (h) Disability of parents
  • (i) Crowded home
  • (j) Immoral characters of parents
  • (k) High ambitions & expectations
  • (l) Presence of step father or mother
  • (m) Influence of brothers & sisters
  • (n) Employment of both parents
  • (P) Lack of recreation

(a) Broken Family

In a broken family, child is not looked after properly and is not brought up carefully. Child usually remains neglected and, eventually, adopts w.ong ways and gradually becomes delinquent.

 (b) Poverty

Poor family fails to fulfill the basic needs of child, and such failure leads the child towards delinquency.

(c) Unemployment

Unemployed parents cannot fulfill the basic necessities of their child, and ultimately the child becomes delinquent.

(d) Birth Order

Birth order of the children is also a cause of juvenile delinquency: the elder child becomes responsible while the younger one becomes over affectionate. But the middle one is neglected. And this neglected child becomes delinquent.

(e) Discriminatory Treatment

Within a family, a child is given more care while other is given less care. A child is preferred and other is insulted. Such discriminatory treatment leads towards delinquency.

(f) Defective Discipline

Too strict discipline leads the child to revolt while too loose discipline leads the child to free environment. These kinds of discipline are not good because they lead the child to anti-social activities.

(g) Quarrels Between Parents

The child feels insecure due to frequent quarrels between parents. Such insecure child often moves towards delinquency.

(h) Immoral Characters Of Parents

If parents are of immoral characters, the child also develops such character. And child of immoral character usually indulges himself in anti-social activities.

(j) Disability of Parents

Parents, who are physically or mentally disable, are not able to exercise control over their child, and such child easily moves towards delinquent acts.

(k) Crowded Home

Crowded home of large family provides the child an opportunity to know about sex. Even such family fails to give proper care to the child. Such circumstances lead the child towards delinquency.

 (l) High Ambitions & Expectations

Parents usually have high ambitions and expectations from their children. Such ambitions and expectations make the children confused, and, consequently, move towards to delinquency.

(m) Influence Of Brothers & Sisters

Delinquent behaviour of senior brothers and sisters leads the junior brothers and sisters towards delinquency.

(n) Presence Of Step Father Or Mother

The children, who remain under the supervision of step father or mother, feel insecurity and are ultimately motivated towards the anti-social acts.

(o) Employment Of Both Parents

The children, who are left in the care of servants due to employment of their both parents, are more prone to delinquency.

(p) Lack Of Recreation

The children, who fail to get proper recreational opportunities at their homes, use different anti-social means to express their emotions and feelings.

(vi) School Factors

Following school factors cause juvenile delinquency:

  • (a) Favouritism
  • (b) Unsympathetic attitude
  • (c) Strict discipline
  • (d) Homework
  • (e) Difficult courses
  • (f) Lack of recreation
  • (g) Lack of co-curricular activities
  • (h) Defective examination system
  • (i) Lack of guidance & counseling

(a) Favouritism

Teacher’s favouritism for some students creates hatred among the neglected students, and eventually leads them to delinquent behaviour.

(b) Unsympathetic Attitude

Unsympathetic and harsh attitude of teacher leads the student towards anti-social activities.

(c) Strict Discipline

The students, who remain under strict discipline, are more prone to delinquency.

(d) Homework

Students remain absent from school due to too much homework and ultimately get themselves indulged in anti-social activities.

(e) Difficult Courses

Students loose interest in their education due to difficult courses and eventually become delinquent.

 (f) Lack Of Recreation

Schools, which do not have proper recreational activities, produce more delinquents.

(g) Lack Of Co-Curricular Activities

Schools, which do not have proper co-curricular activities, create more delinquents.

(h) Defective Examination System

Students usually fail to get expected results due to defective examination system and, consequently, get them indulged in anti-social activities.

(j) Lack Of Guidance & Counseling

Lack of guidance and counseling at schools is also a cause of delinquency.

(vii) Social Factors

Following social factors cause juvenile delinquency:

  • (a) Neighborhood
  • (b) Friends
  • (c) Employment
  • (d) Social media
  • (e) Favoritism


(a) Neighborhood

Presence of gamblers, drunkards and other such people in neighborhood motivates the children for anti-social activities.

(b) Friends

Children, whose friends have bad habits like smoking, stealing, gambling and drinking etc., are more prone to delinquent behavior.

(c) Employment

Children, who have to work or employment, are also more prone to delinquency.

(d) Social Media

Social media is a source of watching various immoral or delinquent acts. Therefore, social media is creating more and more delinquents.

(e) Favoritism

Favoritism to a particular ethnic or religious group or class causes delinquency in the society.

(4) Crime Prevention On Juvenile Level Or Remedies Of Juvenile Delinquency

Following measures can be taken to prevent crimes on juvenile level or followings are remedies for juvenile delinquency:

  • (i) Activities
  • (ii) Environment
  • (iii) Preventive services

(i) Activities

Activities, which contribute to healthy personality development and adjustment of children, must be organized. These activities include the followings:

  • (a) General improvements
  • (b) Income Level
  • (c) Job opportunities
  • (d) Schools
  • (e) Recreational facilities
  • (f) Marital relations
  • (g) Moral & social education

(a) General Improvements

General improvements must be made in families, schools and neighbourhoods.

(b) Income Level

Income level of poor families must be raised so that they can meet the basic and necessary needs of their children.

(c) Job Opportunities

Better and suitable job opportunities must be created for the children.

(d) Schools

Schools, must be established for the education of the children.

(e) Recreational Facilities

Recreational facilities must be provided in homes, neighbourhoods and schools.

(f) Marital Relations

Steps must be taken to improve marital relations so that parents can properly bring up and take care of their children.

(g) Moral & Social Education

Moral and social education must be provided.

(ii) Environment

Following measures must be taken to control environment of the children:

  • (a) Community organizations
  • (b) Welfare & child care agencies
  • (c) Government initiatives

(a) Community Organizations

Community organizations must be established to control the environment of the children.

(b) Welfare & Child Care Agencies

Welfare and child care agencies must make efforts to control the environment of the children.

(c) Government Initiatives

Government initiatives must be taken to control the environment of the children.

(iii) Preventive Services

Following preventive services must be organized for the children to prevent crimes at juvenile level:

  • (a) Probation & parole services
  • (b) Certified schools
  • (c) Children homes
  • (d) Probation hostels

(a) Probation & Parole Services

Probation and parole services can be provided to the juveniles to eliminate their delinquent behaviour.

(b) Certified Schools

Certified schools must be established. Such schools include training schools for corrective education of the juveniles and penal schools for reformation of delinquent behaviour of the juveniles.

(c) Children Homes

Children homes must be established. These homes serve as juvenile detention center or juvenile hall or observation home or remand home. The purpose of such homes is to keep the juveniles away from the adult criminals so as to eliminate the juvenile’s delinquent behaviour.

(d) Probation Hostels

Probation hostels must also be established. Probation hostels provide temporary accommodation to juvenile offenders so as to keep them under close supervision and to provide them basic needs, vocational training and formal education.

(5) Treatment For Juvenile Delinquency

Treatment for juvenile delinquency can be explained in the following words.

  • (i) Psychotherapy
  • (ii) Reality therapy
  • (iii) Behaviour therapy
  • (iv) Active therapy
  • (v) Environment therapy
  • (vi) Social case work
  • (vii) Individual counseling
  • (viii) Vocational counseling

(i) Psychotherapy

Emotional personality problems are treated through psychotherapy to change the delinquent attitude and feeling of a juvenile.

(ii) Reality Therapy

Reality therapy helps a delinquent to act in a responsible manner that is different from anti-social activities.

(iii) Behaviour Therapy

Behaviour therapy modifies the learnt behaviour of juvenile through new learning process: his behaviour is changed through positive or negative reinforcement.

(iv) Active Therapy

Active therapy is a method by which a group of six to eight children gather or meet at specific time or place. Such gathering or meeting provides the children an opportunity to express their hostility, aggression, feelings or ambitions in creative work or mischief.

(v) Environment Therapy

Environment therapy is to produce an environment that facilitates to create meaningful change and to adjust a delinquent in social life.

(vi) Social Case Work

Social case work is to assist maladjusted child in coping with his problems: case history of maladjusted child is prepared to explore his background, environment and his relationship with his family and friends and his personal features and weaknesses so that a treatment plan can be made and carried out.

(vii) Individual Counseling.

Individual counseling re educate a juvenile to enable him to understand his immediate situation and solve his problem not affecting his personality or making any fundamental change in his personality.

(viii) Vocational Counseling

Vocational counseling is to increase a delinquent’s knowledge of his career choices and job specification. It is also to improve his knowledge of qualification and training that is needed for a successful employment.

(6) Criminal Justice System Of Pakistan & Juveniles Criminal justice system of Pakistan, which deals with juveniles, is based on Article 25(3) of Constitution and Juvenile Justice System Act:

  • (i) Article 25(3) of Constitution
  • (ii) Juvenile Justice System Act

(i) Article 25(3) Of Constitution

It states that nothing in this Article shall prevent the State from making any special provision for the protection of women and children.

(ii) Juvenile Justice System Act

Followings are main provisions of Juvenile Justice System Act:

  • (a) Right of legal assistance
  • (b) Observation home
  • (c) Juvenile rehabilitation centers
  • (d) Determination of age
  • (E) Disposal of cases through diversion
  • (f) Juvenile Court
  • (g) Separate challan & trial
  • (h) Disclosure of identity
  • (i) Female juvenile
  • (j) Removal of disqualification
  • (k) Preventive detention

(a) Right Of Legal Assistance

Every juvenile or child victim of an offence has the right of legal assistance:

  • (a-i) At expense of State
  • (a-ii) Within twenty four hours

(a-i) At Expense Of State

This right is available at the expense of the State.

(a-ii) Within Twenty Four Hours

A juvenile is to be informed about this right within 24 hours of taking him into custody.

(b) Observation Home

It means a place where a juvenile is kept temporarily:

  • (b-i) After apprehension & remand
  • (b-ii) For inquiry or investigation
  • (b-iii) Separate from police stations
  • (b-iv) Government or non-government organization

(b-i) After Apprehension & Remand

A juvenile is kept temporarily in observation home after he has been apprehended by police and after remand has been obtained from juvenile court.

(b-ii) For Inquiry Or Investigation

A juvenile is kept tempora.ily in observation home for conducting inquiry or investigation.

(b-iii) Separate From Police Stations

Observation Homes are to be made separately from police stations.

(b-iv) Government Or Non-Government Organization

Government can make observation homes or can certify an observation home that a non-governmental organization manages or controls.

(c) Juvenile Rehabilitation Centers

A juvenile rehabilitation center is a special kind of prison:

  • (c-i) Period of imprisonment or age of eighteen years
  • (c-ii) Education & vocational or technical training
  • (c-iii) Certified institution, juvenile training institution, borstal institution, vocational center, dar-ul-amaan & women crises center

(c-i) Period Of Imprisonment Or Age Of Eighteen Years

The juvenile is confined inside a juvenile rehabilitation center till the completion of period of imprisonment or until he turns 18 years of age.

(c-ii) Education & Vocational Or Technical Training

In juvenile rehabilitation center, the juvenile is given education and vocational or technical training for his mental, moral and psychological development.

(c-iii) Certified Institution, Juvenile Training Institution, Borstal Institution, Vocational Centrer, Dar-Ul-Amaan & Women Crises Center

A juvenilè rehabilitation center includes certified institution, juvenile training institution, borstal institution, vocational center, dar-ul-amaan and women crises center. All of them can be established by the Government or can be established by voluntary organization and are certified by the Government.

(d) Determination Of Age

This Act has provided a mechanism for determination of age of an alleged offender:

  • (d-i) Enquiry
  • (d-ii) Medical examination report

(d-i) Enquiry

The ranking officer-in-charge or the investigation officer is to make an enquiry to determine the age of the alleged offender, who physically appears or claims to be a juvenile. Age is determined on basis of accused person’s birth certificate, educational certificates or any other pertinent documents.

(d-ii) Medical Examination Report

In absence of such documents, age of such accused person can be determined on the basis of a medical examination report by a medical officer.

(e) Disposal Of Cases Through Diversion

Diversion is an alternative process to formal judicial proceedings:

  • (e-i) Responsibility & treatment of juvenile
  • (e-ii) Compoundable offence
  • (e-iii) Major offences
  • (e-iv) Juvenile Justice Committee

(e-i) Responsibility & Treatment Of Juvenile

Diversion is to determine the responsibility and treatment of a juvenile on the basis of his social, cultural, economic, psychological and educational background.

(e-ii) Compoundable Offence

All minor or major offences are compoundable for the purpose of diversion.

(e-iii) Major Offences

Diversion is exercised for major offences if the age of the juvenile is not more than sixteen years.

(e-iv) Juvenile Justice Committee

The main function of Juvenile Justice Committee is to dispose juvenile’s case through diversion

  • (w) Composition
  • (x) Consent of juvenile or his guardian
  • (y) Within period of one month
  • (z) Functions

(w) Composition

Juvenile Justice Committee consists of four members:

  • (w-i) Judicial Magistrate
  • (w-ii) District Public Prosecutor
  • (w-iii) Member of local bar
  • (w-iv) Probation officer or social welfare officer

(w-i) Judicial Magistrate

There is a serving Judicial Magistrate with powers under Section 30 of Criminal Procedure Code, and he heads the Committee.

(w-ii) District Public Prosecutor

District Public Prosecutor is its member.

(w-iii) Member Of Local Bar

A member of local Bar is its member. Such member must have at least seven years standing at the Bar, and is appointed by the concerned Sessions Judge for period of two years.

(w-iv) Probation Officer Or Social Welfare Officer

A serving probation officer or social welfare officer is also its member. Such officer must not be below the rank of an officer in BPS-17.

(x) Consent Of Juvenile Or His Guardian

With the consent of a juvenile or his guardian, the complaint against the juvenile is referred to the Juvenile Justice Committee for its disposal through diversion.

(y) Within Period Of One Month

Juvenile Justice Committee is to dispose the case within one month from the date the case is referred to it by police prosecution of Juvenile Court.

(z) Functions

Followings are functions of Juvenile Justice Committee:

  • (z-i) Disposal of case
  • (z-ii) Inspection of observation homes & Juvenile Rehabilitation Centres
  • (z-iii) Directions

(z-i) Disposal Of Case.

Juvenile Justice Committee is to dispose of juvenile’s case:

  • (p) In case of private complainant
  • (q) In case where complainant is state functionary
  • (r) Different modes of diversion

(p) In Case Of Private Complainant

Juvenile Justice Committee is to dispose the case with consent of the person against whom the offence has been committed.

(q) In Case Where Complainant

Is State Functionary Juvenile Justice Committee is to dispose the case with consent of the concerned public prosecutor where the complainant is a state functionary and the offence has not been committed against a private person.

(r) Different Modes Of Diversion

Juvenile Justice Committee is to dispose the case by using either of following modes of diversion:

  • (r-i) Restitution of movable property
  • (r-ii) Reparation of the damage caused
  • (r-iii) Written or oral apology
  • (r-iv) Participation in community service
  • (r-v) Payments of fine and costs of the proceedings
  • (r-vi) Placement in Juvenile Rehabilitation Centre or
  • (r-vii) Written and oral reprimand
  • (r-viii) Observation Homes & Juvenile

(z-ii) Inspection Of observation homes and Juvenile Rehabilitation Centres.

Juvenile justice committee is to inspect the observation homes and Juvenile Rehabilitation Centres.

(z-iii) Directions

Juvenile Justice Committee is to give directions to the officers-in-charge of observation homes and Juvenile Rehabilitation Centres to for the measures, which are to be taken for welfare and social re-integration of the juvenile, who are kept under their supervision.

(f) Juvenile Court

This Act provides for Juvenile Court:

  • (f-i) Establishment
  • (f-ii) Jurisdiction

(f-i) Establishment

In consultation with concerned High Court, the Government is to establish or designate one or more Juvenile Courts.

(f-ii) Jurisdiction

A Juvenile Court has jurisdiction to try and decide cases in which a juvenile is accused of commission of an offence.

(g) Separate Challan & Trial

A juvenile is not charged with and tried for an offence together with an adult person.


If it is in the interest of justice to hold a joint trial of a juvenile and an adult, the juvenile court can dispense with the physical presence of the juvenile and juvenile can be allowed to join the Court proceedings through audio-visual technology link.

(h) Disclosure Of Identity

Revealing the identity of an accused juvenile to the public 84 without written authorization of juvenile or his next-of-kin is prohibited. S.H.O, investigating officer or Juvenile Court can also grant permission in this regard.

(j) Female Juvenile

There are special provisions for female juvenile:

  • (j-i) Male officer
  • (j-ii) Juvenile Rehabilitation Centre

(j-i) Male Officer

Female juveniles must not be apprehended or investigated by a male police officer or released on probation under supervision of a male officer.

(j-ii) Juvenile Rehabilitation Centre

A female juvenile must only be kept in a Juvenile Rehabilitation Centre, which has been established or certified exclusively for female inmates

(k) Removal Of Disqualification

A juvenile offender, who has been convicted under the provisions of Juvenile Justice System Act, must not suffer any disqualification that has been attached to a conviction of an offence under such law.

(l) Preventive Detention

No child shall be arrested under any of the laws dealing with preventive detention or under the provisions of Chapter VIII of the Code of Criminal Procedure.

(7) Conclusion

It can be finally stated that child abuse is an evil in every society. It is due to child abuse that child has to go through mental and emotional stress, and, consequently, the child reacts or behaves in such a way, which is harmful to both society and him. Such harmful reaction or behaviour is, in fact, juvenile delinquency.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

B i l a l - T a h i r