Project 39A

Project 39A is a criminal justice initiative, based in the National Law University, Delhi – a prestigious public university in New Delhi. Inspired by Article 39-A of the Indian Constitution, Project 39A’s work furthers the intertwined values of equal justice and equal opportunity.  Project 39A uses empirical research to re-examine policies on various criminal justice issues like the death penalty, torture, legal aid, mental health, and forensics. Project 39A provides legal representation to prisoners sentenced to death at the appellate stages, as well as to undertrial prisoners in two of India’s largest prisons in Maharashtra, under the Fair Trial Programme. Our research and legal interventions are grounded in an interdisciplinary approach. 

Project 39A’s initiation into the criminal justice system was through its work on the Death Penalty India Report (May 2016) a first of its kind empirical study on the socio-economic profile of death row prisoners and their interaction with the criminal justice system. Our other landmark research study is Deathworthy (October 2021), an empirical study on mental health and the death penalty. An important part of our research is also to undertake empirical inquiries into capital sentencing law and processes to lay bare its arbitrary imposition. We also publish the Annual Statistics Report on the state of the death penalty in India.  Project 39A has been involved in conducting two audits of the Supreme Court Legal Services Committee – the state body which provides free legal aid at the Supreme Court. For our pro bono legal representation to death row prisoners we challenge the conviction as well as the death sentence in each case. We are also involved in devising strategic litigation interventions, aimed at reforming procedural and substantive issues that affect the rights of prisoners sentenced to death. Project 39A currently represents over 60% of death penalty cases before the Supreme Court. 

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Contact informations

National Law University, Delhi
Sector 14, Dwarka,
110078 New Delhi
Phone +91 11 2803 2533



Death Penalty in India: Annual Statistics Report 2023

By Project 39A, on 15 February 2024


NGO report


More details See the document

Published in 2023.

This is the eighth edition of the Death Penalty in India: Annual Statistics Report. This annual publication presents changes in the death row population as well as political and legal developments in the administration of the death penalty in India each year. The statistics are compiled through a combination of data mining of court websites, media monitoring and Right to Information applications.

  • Document type NGO report
  • Countries list India