In modern civilized countries a
criminal is not looked upon as a sinner or bad person but rather as a mentally
diseased individual or one who has been a victim of certain circumstances. There
was a time when even small children were severely punished if they committed
some crime. But as psychologists proceeded to draw the attention of the
civilized world to the cause of juvenile delinquency, the tradition of punishing
children lost favor, to be replaced by efforts at improving and rehabilitating
them. Nowadays, in every country efforts are being made to correct the juvenile
delinquent rather than punish him.
Juvenile delinquency is essentially a city phenomena. Big cities of Pakistan
have been experiencing incidents which may be described as delinquent acts. A
delinquent is one who is guilty of an act believed by a group that has power to
enforce its belief, to be injurious to society and therefore prohibited. In
short, juvenile delinquents are those young persons who have been found
indulging in destructive acts such as thefts and car lifting etc.
In Pakistan, we do not have legal or administrative regulation defining the term
“juvenile delinquency”. But the age of the juvenile and the nature of offence
committed by him are important criteria of juvenile delinquency.
Juvenile delinquency like crime is a cause as well as symptom of a disorganized
society. Criminality ordinarily refers to adult behaviors and juvenile
delinquency is commonly used for the offences committed by adolescent. Juvenile
courts are constituted to protect the minor and save him from a delinquency
stigma whereas the function of the criminal court is to determine whether the
defendant has committed breach of the law.
Briefly, criminals and juveniledelinquents are to be distinguished by their
difference of age, kinds of actions, objective of activities and mode of
working. Yet normally it is only the difference in age that is considered the
sole basis of making a distinction between the two classes. The causes of
juvenile delinquency are divided into internal and external. Internal factors
include physical and psychological factors while the external factors consist of
In our country, the main cause of juvenile delinquency is poverty, lack of
education, over-crowding, unemployment, parental neglect, emotional insecurity,
lack of healthy recreational facilities, excitement through reading obscene
books and watching filthy movies and bad company. The rapid movement of
population from the rural areas to the cities, the unplanned industrialization
and rapid urbanization are the major factors responsible for increasing the
magnitude of the problem. It is therefore, necessary to dispassionately analyze
its causes and take effective steps to solve the problem of juvenile delinquency
which has been on an increase these days.