The Supreme Court on Friday said it will hear on February 11 the Centre's plea challenging the Delhi High Court's verdict that had dismissed its petition against the stay on the execution of the four Nirbhaya gang rape and murder case convicts.
A bench headed by Justice R Bhanumathi did not heed to the request of Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, who was seeking issuance of notice to the four convicts on the Centre's plea, saying it would further delay the matter.
The bench, also comprising justices Ashok Bhushan and A S Bopanna, told Mehta that it would hear him on February 11 and it may consider whether notice was required to be issued to the convicts.
At the outset, Mehta told the court that the "nation's patience is being tested" in the matter and bench will have to lay down a law on the issue.
The Centre, through its Additional Solicitor General K M Natraj, moved the top court seeking an urgent hearing on its appeal assailing the verdict which held on Wednesday that the death row convicts have to be executed together and not separately.
Natraj had told the court that jail authorities were unable to execute the convicts in the case despite the fact that their review petitions had been dismissed and curative petitions and mercy pleas of three of them had been rejected.
The high court set 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.
A lawyer associated with the matter
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.
(With PTI inputs)