Dr Anup Surendranath is the Executive Director of Project 39A (formerly the Centre on the Death Penalty) and an Assistant Professor of Law at National Law University, Delhi. He was invited by the Supreme Court of India to serve as the Deputy Registrar (Research) in May 2014, the last such appointment having been made in the late 80s. Dr. Surendranath completed his legal education from the NALSAR University of Law, Hyderabad (India) and the University of Oxford (2007-12).
His involvement with the death penalty in India began in May 2013 by establishing and leading the Death Penalty Research Project that culminated in the Death Penalty India Report (May 2016). The project, first of its kind on the death penalty in India, interviewed all of India's death row prisoners and their families towards developing a socio-economic profile of death row prisoners and also mapping their interaction with the criminal justice system. Over 90 undergraduate law students at National Law University, Delhi were involved with the project between May 2013 - May 2016 and the Death Penalty India Report is now considered among the definitive works on the death penalty in India.
The Centre on the Death Penalty was established in August 2014 to provide pro bono legal representation to death row prisoners in India and to further research the administration of the death penalty in India. Apart from representing over 65 death row prisoners across India, the Centre's research currently examines death penalty sentencing in India's trial courts and mental health of death row prisoners. In June 2018, the Centre on the Death Penalty transitioned to Project 39A (inspired by Article 39A of the Indian Constitution on equal justice and opportunity). While retaining the focus on the death penalty, Project 39A will see broader engagement with the Indian criminal justice system on issues of torture, sentencing, forensics, access to legal aid and forensic mental health.