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DIFFERENCES IN TREATMENT OF BOYS AND GIRLS

Comparison of official statistics from 2004-2014 clearly indicates that boys were arrested more frequently than girls at all age categories (see Table 9.3). Violent crimes such as murder, rape, and robbery were within the purview of boys at every age group. Older boys were also involved in riots due to their increased political activism (Hartjen and Kethineni 1996; National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) 2014). Similar to boys, girls were arrested in higher numbers for theft and prohibition offenses, although the figures were not substantial for girls. Despite their low levels of criminal activity, the JJA extended the juvenile court jurisdiction to girls until the age of 18, while limiting the jurisdiction to boys until the age of 16. Girls were often given fewer resources than boys. Also, families prefer boys to girls: “investment in boys might have larger returns...; boys might be seen as needing more resources.” (Barcellos et al. 2010: 4). Due to cultural discrimination of girls, both governmental and nongovernmental programs were developed to empower girls from rural and economically and socially deprived families. These programs focus on “creating social-awareness, building positive self-esteem, learning life skills, and developing academic skills” for girls (Saraswathi and Larson 2002: 354). Also, child activists campaigned to increase the age of boys under the juvenile court jurisdiction in par with the girls. In conformity with CRC, the government of India passed the JJCPA 2000 prescribing a uniform age of 18 for both boys and girls.

 
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