The Supreme Court on Thursday agreed to hear the Centre’s petition against a Delhi High Court verdict regarding the hanging of the four death-row convicts in the 2012 gangrape-and-murder case, reported PTI. The High Court had on Wednesday turned down a plea of the Union government and said the four would have to be hanged together since they were convicted for the same crime. The Supreme court said it will hear the Centre’s plea on Friday.

Additional Solicitor General KM Natraj, appearing for the Centre, asked for urgent listing before a bench of Justices NV Ramana, Sanjiv Khanna and Krishna Murari. Natraj told the court that jail authorities are unable to execute the convicts though their review petitions have been dismissed and curative petitions and mercy pleas of three of them rejected.

On Wednesday, the Delhi High Court gave the four convicts one week’s time to resort to all legal remedies available to them. Dismissing the Centre’s plea challenging the trial court order, the High Court said that the death warrant against the convicts cannot be executed separately. Justice Suresh Kait clarified that all the convicts must be hanged together.

The Centre and the Delhi government had challenged a lower court’s order staying the execution of the convicts, which was initially scheduled for 6 am on February 1. The convicts’ death warrants were first issued for January 22, and then postponed to February 1 because of the mercy pleas.

The four men were sentenced to death in September 2013 for raping and murdering a paramedical student on the night of December 16, 2012. The assault had sparked countrywide protests. The student died 13 days later at a Singapore hospital.

The death sentence was upheld by the Delhi High Court in March 2014, and the Supreme Court in May 2017.