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Judging Juvenility: Determination of age of Juvenile Offenders under Pakistan’s Juvenile Justice System

Khurshid Iqbal

Abstract
Determination of age of Juvenile Offenders is a crucial issue in Pakistan’s Juvenile Justice System. This issue goes to the spirit of Pakistan’s Juvenile Justice System Ordinance, 2000 (JJSO) as it is after the determination of his/her juvenility that an offender can avail the rights available to him/her and a Juvenile Court assumes its jurisdiction under the JJSO. The article argues that the JJSO and other relevant statutes in the field are inconsistent in determining the age of Juvenile Offenders. Examining in details the case law since the introduction of the JJSO in the year 2000 till this year, the article further argues that while the courts, too, have been giving conflicting judicial views, of late, the growing body of case law shows a visible tendency of the courts to settle the issue, which is of great significance. Equally important, however, is the role of the law-makers to set right the legislative inconsistencies to resolve the issue by amending and consolidating the law relating to juvenile justice system. The
article concludes that Pakistan has both national and international obligations to make
serious efforts in ensuring effective protection of human rights of the children in conflict
with law.

Key words: Criminal Justice, Juvenile Justice, Juvenility, Pakistan