New Delhi: The Delhi government on Wednesday (January 15) told the high court that execution of the death row convicts in the Nirbhaya gangrape and murder case would not take place on January 22 as a mercy plea has been filed by one of them.

The four convicts -- Vinay Sharma (26), Mukesh Kumar (32), Akshay Kumar Singh (31) and Pawan Gupta (25) -- were slated to be hanged on January 22 at 7 am in Tihar jail after a Delhi court issued their death warrants on January 7.

The Delhi government and the Centre told justices Manmohan and Sangita Dhingra Sehgal that the petition filed by convict Mukesh, challenging his death warrant, was premature. 

The state government and the prison authorities informed the court that under the rules, it would have to wait for the mercy plea to be decided before executing the death warrant.

They also said that none of the four convicts could be executed on January 22 unless the present mercy plea is decided.

Earlier, Vinay Sharma and Mukesh Singh had moved the curative petitions in the top court after a Delhi court issued death warrants in their names for their hanging on January 22.

Besides them, two other convicts named Pawan and Akshay are also slated to be executed on the same day at 7 am in Delhi's Tihar Jail premises.

They were convicted and sentenced to death for raping a 23-year-old woman in a moving bus in the national capital on the intervening night of December 16-17, 2012.