The Supreme Court on Monday stayed the execution of four aides of Sandalwood bandit Veerappan till Wednesday.
President Pranab Mukherjee had rejected their mercy petitions last week.
The four - Gnana Prakasam, Simon, Meesakaara Madiah and Bilavendran - have been on death row for nine years and have requested the apex court to commute their death sentence to life imprisonment since there has been an inordinate delay in deciding on their mercy petition.
They are accused of killing 22 policemen and forest officials in a landmine blast in Palar, Karnataka in 1993. The designated special court at Mysore had awarded life imprisonment to all four in the case.
The Karnataka government filed a petition against the verdict in Supreme Court demanding capital punishment for the accused.
Their lawyer had on Saturday sought an urgent hearing at the Chief Justice's residence as the apex court was closed that day, pleading there were reports that the four men would be hanged at the Belgaum, Karnataka jail where they are lodged, on Sunday.
But the court rejected that appeal saying there was nothing to suggest that an execution had been slotted. (ANI)