The hanging of a man convicted in the rape and murder of a three-year-old in Gujarat's Surat was put on hold today by the Supreme Court, nearly a week before his execution.
A Surat court had ordered Anil Surendra Yadav's hanging on February 29. He was sentenced to death for rape and murder of a toddler in October 2018.
Anil Surendra Yadav had challenged his hanging before the Supreme Court, arguing that a death warrant can't be issued before all legal remedies are exhausted.
Yadav has 60 days to file his appeal in the top court and a death warrant can't be issued before that, his lawyer Aparajitha Singh argued.
After hearing the arguments, Chief Justice SA Bobde said, "In spite of Supreme Court judgement, which had said that death warrant can't be issued before all legal remedies are exhausted, how can a judge pass such orders? Judicial process can't be (ignored) like this."
Chief Justice Bobde asked the government lawyer to take note of the case because the Supreme Court had earlier agreed to examine centre's petition to set a seven-day time limit for convicts to use their last available legal options before execution.
The petition asked for a modification in a past Supreme Court judgment on the rights of death row convicts and said there should be a time limit for a curative petition after the Supreme Court rejects all previous pleas.
The current rules are skewed towards convicts and allows them to "play with the law and delay execution," the centre said in its petition, amid anger over a delay in the hanging of four men convicted of the 2012 gang-rape and murder of a young medical student in Delhi.
The Nirbhaya case convicts are scheduled to hang on March 3 after two previous dates were scrapped because of a barrage of petitions filed by them to stall the sentence.
A court in Surat had sentenced Yadav, who is from Bihar, to death under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POSCO) Act. The death sentence was upheld by the Gujarat High Court on December 27.