New Delhi: Surinder Koli, convicted of killing young children in Nithari near Delhi nearly a decade ago, will not be hanged this week. An order passed by the Supreme Court at 1.30 am last night has put off his execution by at least a week.
Justice HL Dattu, who has been appointed Chief Justice of India, passed the late night order from home, on a petition by Koli's lawyer Indira Jaising seeking review of his death sentence.
In a week, Koli's petition could be the first to be heard in an open court by three judges.
In a landmark ruling last week, the Supreme Court had said it was a convict's "fundamental right" to be heard in open court when their plea for mercy is being reconsidered. The court also said convicts could file a review petition within a month even after it was dismissed once, which is the basis for Koli's new petition.
Koli was to be hanged this week in the Meerut jail, where he has been kept in high security barracks.
42-year-old Koli was found guilty of serial rapes and murders between 2005 and 2006, in a case that horrified India.
Investigations that began with a missing girl led police teams to a series of gruesome murders of children whose remains were found near the house Koli shared with his employer, businessman Moninder Singh Pandher. He was charged in 16 cases.
Koli was sentenced to death in four cases and his death sentence was confirmed by the Supreme Court in 2011. The court observed that Koli "appears to be the serial killer" and said "no mercy can be shown to him."
Koli's employer Pandher was also sentenced to death in one case but was acquitted by the Allahabad High Court.