New Delhi, Jul 16 (PTI) The Supreme Court Thursday sought response from the Centre on a plea which has sought guidelines for time-bound disposal of mercy petitions and exhaustion of legal remedies by death-row convicts.

A bench comprising Chief Justice S A Bobde and Justices R S Reddy and A S Bopanna issued notices to the Centre and others on the plea which has also sought directions to the authorities to dispose in a time bound manner the mercy petitions pending before them and forward their respective recommendations to the President or Governor of states as per the procedure.

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The plea, filed by advocate Subhash Vijayran, has said that the Centre and states should be directed to take necessary steps to execute death sentence of those convicts who have exhausted all their legal remedies.

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It said that authorities should be directed to "issue notices to those death-row convicts who have not exhausted their legal remedies, directing them to exhaust the same, in a time bound manner and thereafter take necessary steps in a time bound manner in accordance with law to execute the sentence of death for those convicts who are still on death-row after exhausting all their legal remedies."

Referring to the case of two convicts who were held guilty of kidnapping and murdering five children, the plea claimed that their death sentences, despite being confirmed by the apex court, has been stayed since 2014 as their petition seeking stay on execution citing inordinate delay in rejection of their mercy pleas is pending before the Bombay High Court.

The bench, which agreed to hear the petition, tagged it with a separate pending plea which has raised similar issues.

The apex court had on May 27 sought the Centre's response on a separate plea seeking direction to the government to frame specific procedure, rules and guidelines for time-bound disposal of mercy petitions.

The top court had then said that only thing it may consider is directing the Ministry of Home Affairs on time limit for placing the mercy petition before the President.

It had observed that format of mercy petition is not important but what is important is time limit for placing it before the President.

The separate plea has claimed that there were no guidelines for disposal of mercy petitions within a particular time frame.

It has sought a direction to the Centre to fix a time-frame within which a mercy petition has to be decided and "the consequences of not disposing of the mercy petitions within such time frame".

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