What is the Meaning of Juvenile Delinquency?



Delinquency is a kind of abnormality. When an individual deviates from the course of normal social life, his behaviour is called "delinquency".

When a juvenile, below an age specified under a statute exhibits behaviour which may prove to be dangerous to society and/or to him he may be called a 'Juvenile delinquent'. Each state has its own precise definition of the age range covered by the word 'juvenile'.


1. Cyril Burt defines delinquency as occurring in a child "When his antisocial tendencies ap­pear so grave that he becomes or ought to become the subject of official action".

2. Friedlander says, "Delinquency is a juvenile misconduct that might be dealt with under the law".

3. The Second United Nations Congress on the Prevention of Crime and Treatment of Offend­ers (1960) states, "By juvenile delinquency should be understood the commission of an act which, if committed by an adult, would be considered a crime."

4. C.B. Mamoria writes, "The phrase 'juvenile delinquency' may be loosely used to cover any kind of deviant behaviour of children which violates normative rules, understanding or expectations of social system".

5. In simple words, it can be said that juvenile delinquency is a type of abnormal or antisocial behaviour by a juvenile who is below an age specified by statue.

Who is a Juvenile Delinquent?

Juvenile delinquents are those offenders including boys and girls who are normally under 16 years of age. A juvenile delinquent is a young person incorrigible, or habitually disobedient. Acts of delinquency may include (1) running away from home without the permission of parents, (2) habitual truancy beyond the control of parents, (3) spending time idly beyond limits, (4) use of vulgar languages, (5) wandering about rail-roads, streets, market places, (6) visiting gambling cen­tres, (7) committing sexual offences, (8) shop-lifting, (9) stealing etc. Juveniles may do such activi­ties singly or through a gang