The Supreme Court has agreed to hear on Friday the Centre's appeal challenging the Delhi high court's verdict dismissing its plea against stay on the execution of the four death row convicts in the Nirbhaya gang rape and murder case.
Additional Solicitor General K M Natraj, appearing for the Centre, on Thursday mentioned the matter for urgent listing before a bench comprising Justices N V Ramana, Sanjiv Khanna and Krishna Murari.
Natraj told the court that jail authorities are unable to execute the convicts in the case despite the fact that their review petitions have been dismissed and curative petitions and mercy pleas of three of them have been rejected.
The Delhi high court on Wednesday held that all the four convicts are to be executed together and not separately while setting a week's deadline for them to avail the remaining remedies.
If the convicts choose not to make any type of petition in seven days from now, the institutions/ authorities concerned will deal with the matter, as per the law, without further delay, it said.
Hours after the high court's verdict, the Centre filed an appeal against it in the apex court.
The high court said all the four convicts in the Nirbhaya case have to be executed together, not separately, and faulted the authorities concerned for not taking steps for issuance of death warrants after rejection of appeals of the convicts by the Supreme Court in 2017.
The trial court had on January 31 stayed "till further orders" execution of the four convicts in the case -- Mukesh Kumar Singh (32), Pawan Gupta (25), Vinay Kumar Sharma (26) and Akshay Kumar (31), who are lodged in Tihar Jail.
A lawyer associated with the matter had said the grounds taken for challenge in the top court are almost the same as taken in the high court while filing the appeal against the trial court order.
He had said the Centre has stated in the petition in the apex court that the convicts can be hanged separately as Mukesh has exhausted all his remedies, including the mercy plea.