Reinventing Lombroso in the Era of Genetic Revolution: Whether Criminal Justice System Actually Imparts Justice or is Based on ‘Convenience of Assumption’?

Aman Amrit Cheema, Ashish Virk


In the last century there has been growing appreciation for the role that genes play not only in the development of certain physical characteristics and diseases, but also in human behaviour. The recent advancements in the field of genetics show that genes do play a role in criminal behaviour, which has further shaken the free-will foundation upon which the criminal justice system is based. Does this mean that we are reinventing Lombroso and his theory of ‘atavism’ in the era of genetic revolution? This paper provides a critical analysis of India’s judiciary’s position on ‘criminal genes’ explanations as acceptable arguments that can be used by defence lawyers in criminal cases. We have found that ‘criminal genes’ arguments do not yet constitute a complete defence given the low level of accomplishment in this regard in the field of genetics. However, genetic arguments can be used as a reliable defence for mitigating the sentence.

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International Journal of Criminology and Sociological Theory | ISSN : 1916-2782