New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday agreed to hear Central government's appeal against Delhi high court order, which rejected its plea to separately execute the four convicts in the Nirbhaya gang rape and murder case.

A bench headed by Justice NV Ramana slated the matter for hearing on Friday. Additional Solicitor General KM Nataraj, appearing for the Central government, mentioned the matter before the top court for an urgent hearing.

The Centre had challenged the Delhi high court's order rejecting its plea for separately executing the four convicts in the case in the apex court.

The government, in the Supreme Court, contended that under the Delhi Prison Rules of 2018 the pendency of legal remedies or mercy petitions of other co-convicts would have no bearing on the fate of a convict whose plea for mercy has already been rejected.

The 2018 Rules does not prohibit the execution of death sentence of co-convicts, one by one, on the rejection of their respective mercy petitions, Centre has said.

The Centre, in its plea before the apex court, contended that deferring the execution of death sentence of all the four convicts, specifically when Mukesh's mercy plea has already been dismissed by the President, has led to a gross miscarriage of justice to the victim's family as well as the society as a whole.

Delhi high court had, on Wednesday, granted a week's time to the four death row convicts to avail all legal remedies available to them and said that the convicts cannot be hanged separately since they were convicted for the same crime.

The high court had passed the order while hearing petitions filed by the Centre and Tihar Jail authorities challenging the Patiala House Court's order which had stayed "till further order" the execution of the four convicts in the matter.

The Delhi high court had held that the 2018 Rules observe that pendency of any application filed by one convict would necessarily require the postponement of the death sentence of all his co-convicts, even those whose mercy pleas have been rejected.

Meanwhile, President Ram Nath Kovind on Wednesday also rejected the mercy petition of the third convict Akshay Thakur in the gang rape and murder case, which took place on the intervening night of December 15-16, 2012.

A Delhi court had earlier stayed till further orders the execution of the four convicts Akshay Thakur, Mukesh Singh, Pawan Gupta, and Vinay Sharma which was earlier scheduled to take place on February 1.

With ANI Inputs