Call for Applications: Project Associates, Centre on the Death Penalty


The National Law University, Delhi („University‟) is seeking to engage on a contractual basis, two Project Associates for the Centre on the Death Penalty („Centre‟) at its campus in Dwarka, New Delhi supported by a grant from the Open Society Foundation, for a specific research project (“project‟). The contract will be for one year initially and can be renewed subject to the availability of external funding and at the discretion of the University. The duration of the project is 18 (eighteen) months.

About the Centre on the Death Penalty: The Centre was set up in August 2014 and undertakes litigation, research and outreach relating to the death penalty. The Centre was formed following the Death Penalty Research Project undertaken by the University since July 2013 in collaboration with the National Legal Services Authority. The Centre provides pro bono legal assistance to several prisoners sentenced to death across the country.

About the Research Project: Presently, death penalty research in India is mainly focused on the inconsistencies within the Supreme Court. However, there appears to be a crisis in the decision making by trial courts in death sentence cases, as evident from the inconsistent application of the ‘rarest of rare’ doctrine and the sentencing justifications adopted therein. Therefore, there is a need to scrutinize the manner in which trial courts appreciate evidence and consider aggravating and mitigating circumstances, and the reasons why a vast majority of these decisions are reversed by appellate courts. While our current research establishes that a large number of prisoners are unnecessarily sentenced to death before being acquitted or commuted, the next step would be to analyse and document the manner in which the ‘rarest of rare’ doctrine has broken down at the level of the trial courts. For the purposes of this project, we will focus our attention on analysing death penalty cases from the states of Maharashtra, Delhi, Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka over a 15 year period of 2000-2015.



A. Liaise with District and State Legal Aid Authorities, judges, lawyers, prison authorities, and other institutions to ensure effective implementation of the project

B. Collate trial court, High Court and Supreme Court judgments in death penalty cases for the period 2000-2015

C. Identify core issues within conviction and sentencing practices and analyse them

D. Ensure that all records collected through the project are translated into English, digitised and accessible in the public domain

E. Write and publish the final report

F. Engage with judicial academies, retired and serving judges, parliamentarians and other stakeholders to ensure that our findings are disseminated

G. Develop and implement effective media and outreach strategy after publication of the final report

H. Present the final report and the work of the Centre at appropriate fora

I. Any other work that may be necessary to further the aims of the Centre



A. Graduate with an LLB degree

B. Relevant research experience or familiarity with criminal proceedings at the trial or appellate levels would be preferable

C. Ability to read/ write/ speak regional Indian languages will be an advantage but is not mandatory

Compensation: Salary will be commensurate with qualifications and experience and will be within the range of Rs. 50,000-Rs.60,000 per month.

Application Process: Interested persons may send their resumé and a statement of purpose, explaining their interest in working on this specific project, and the contribution that they see themselves making to the Centre‟s work in general. The statement of purpose must not exceed 500 words.

Email: Please send your resumé and statement of purpose to the Registrar ( with a copy marked to The subject of the e-mail should be “Centre on the Death Penalty- Application for Project Associate—Open Society Foundation” The cover letter must state (Attn: Director, Centre on the Death Penalty.) OR

Post/Courier: The postal address is “Registrar, National Law University, Delhi, Sector 14, Dwarka, New Delhi-110 078”. The envelope must have super scribed on it, “Centre on the Death PenaltyApplication for Project Associate—Open Society Foundation” and addressed to the Registrar, National Law University, Delhi. The cover letter must state (Attn: Director, Centre on the Death Penalty.) The University reserves the right to conduct interviews and not fill these positions. The University will be unable to cover the costs for attending the interview but the possibility of a telephonic/video interview can be explored.

Deadline: Applications must reach us no later than 22nd February 2016. Interviews for shortlisted candidates may be conducted on 27th and 28th February 2016.


1. The Centre works on behalf of all prisoners sentenced to death, regardless of the offence involved.

2. The positions in this call are supported by a grant from the Open Society Foundation.

3. National Law University, Delhi is an equal opportunity employer.


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