New Delhi, Feb 20: The Supreme Court Wednesday extended the stay of the execution of four aides of sandalwood smuggler Veerappan, saying it would await the verdict by another bench of the court on the larger question of inordinate delay in deciding their mercy petitions.
The apex court bench headed by Chief Justice Altamas Kabir adjourned the matter for six weeks to await the verdict.
The Supreme Court bench headed by G.S. Singhvi in April 2012 had reserved the judgment on the question of whether, in a case where there is inordinate delay in deciding a mercy petition, the convict is entitled to any relief or not.
The court addressed the larger issue of delay in the course of the hearing of the petition by Devendever Pal Singh Bhullar and Narender Nath Das -- both sentenced to death -- who said that there was an inordinate delay in deciding their mercy petitions.
In this case, the court had sought the records of all the cases of death sentences that were pending for long time.
The apex court was moved Monday (Feb 18) seeking the stay of the execution of the death sentence of the four Veerappan aides -- Simon, Gnana Prakash, Madhiah, Bilavendra -- who were convicted for triggering a landmine blast that resulted into the death of 22 Karnataka Police personnel.
Their mercy petitions were delayed for 8-11 years. The court had stayed the execution of the death sentence Monday.