New Delhi: The Supreme Court has put on hold the execution of Nithari killings convict Surender Koli by a week.
A bench of Chief Justice-designate Justice H.L. Dattu and Justice Anil R. Dave passed the order in the intervening night of Sunday and Monday, suspending Koli's execution on his appeal. Koli was represented by counsel Indira Jaising.
In its brief order, the court said an application to review the orders passed July 24 was placed before it at 1 a.m. Sep 8.
In the application, it was stated that the execution of the death warrant may take place at 5.30 a.m. Sep 8.
For recalling and reviewing the court's orders, the applicant relied upon the observations made by the Constitution Bench in a case related to Mohd. Arif delivered on Sep 2, the order said.
"Considering the urgency of the matter, we stay the execution of the death sentence of the applicant/petitioner for a period of one week from today (Monday)," the court said at its urgent hearing as it directed that the matter be listed next week.
The order staying Koli's death sentence was signed at 1.30 a.m.
By its judgment delivered Sep 2, the apex court Constitution Bench said the plea for the review of the court's verdict upholding the death sentence would be heard in an open court by a bench of three judges.
The Constitution Bench had said its verdict would be applicable even to review petitions that had been dismissed but execution of death sentence was yet to be carried out.
The Constitution Bench had held: "In such cases, the petitioners can apply for the reopening of their review petition within one month from the date of this judgment."
Koli was to be executed Monday at the Meerut jail.
Koli's mercy petition was rejected by President Pranab Mukherjee, and he was taken from the Dasna jail in Ghaziabad district to Meerut Sep 4 for the execution of his death warrant issued by a CBI court.
Officials earlier said he was to be hanged any time between Sep 7 and 12.
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court in Ghaziabad issued a death warrant to Koli after his mercy petition was rejected by the president.
Koli was shifted to Meerut because of the absence of hanging facilities in Dasna.
He was convicted for the murder of a girl, Rimpa Halder, who went missing in Noida in December 2006. After a police investigation, she was found to have been murdered by Koli.
During the probe, the skeletal remains of many other children were recovered from a drain adjacent to a house in Nithari, an area in Noida where Koli worked as domestic help for businessman Moninder Singh Pandher.
Both Koli and Pandher were sentenced to death, but later the Allahabad High Court acquitted Pandher and upheld Koli's death sentence.
Koli's sentence was then upheld by the Supreme Court. He filed a mercy petition before the president, which was turned down.