The Supreme Court has stayed the execution of eight death row prisoners, convicted in different murder cases, whose clemency pleas were rejected by President Pranab Mukherjee earlier this week.
In an urgent hearing which took place late in the evening on Saturday at Justice P Sathasivam's residence here, a bench which also comprised of Justice M Y Eqbal stayed for four weeks the execution of the eight convicts -- Suresh, Ramji, Gurmeet Singh, Praveen Kumar, Sonia and her husband Sanjeev, Sundar Singh and Jafar Ali.
"There shall be stay of execution of the death sentence in respect of the eight petitioners. Notice to the states concerned returnable in four weeks," the bench said.
The bench passed the order on a petition filed by civil rights group People's Union for Democratic Rights (PUDR).
The urgent hearing took place as the petitioners feared they would be executed following the rejection of their mercy petitions by the President.
In its petition, PUDR challenged the rejection of the mercy pleas of the eight convicts contending there has been delay in carrying out their execution, even after it was confirmed by the apex court.
The convicts are lodged in various jails of the country.
While Suresh, Ramji, Gurmeet Singh and Jafar Ali are lodged in prisons in Uttar Pradesh, former Haryana MLA Ralu Ram Punia's daughter Sonia and her husband Sanjeev are jailed in Haryana. Praveen is in a Karnataka jail and Sundar Singh is an inmate in a prison in Uttaranchal.
Sonia and Sanjeev were awarded death penalty for killing eight members of her family, including her parents and three children of her brother, in 2001.
Gurmeet Singh was convicted of killing 13 of his family members in 1986. Jafar Ali murdered his wife and five daughters. Suresh and Ramji killed five of their relatives.