Tagging the PIL with another one that was filed earlier on the brutal torture of Captain Saurabh Kalia by Pakistani troops during the Kargil war in 1999, the apex court said that the Centre must respond within four weeks to the notice issued on Monday.
Lance Naiks Sudhakar Singh and Hemraj were ambushed by members of a Border Action Team of the Pakistani Army in the Mendhar sector near the Line of Control in Poonch district on Jan 8. Taking advanatge of the fog in the area on that day, the attackers intruded nearly 100 metres into Indian territory and killed the two jawans.
An area domination patrol spotted the intruders subsequently but the latter managed to decapitate Hemraj and also mutilate Sudhakar Singh's body before sneaking back to a Pakistani border post.
The incident heightened tension on both sides of the border. Condemning the "gruesome and unpardonable act", Army Chief General Bikram Singh noted that the Pakistanis had flouted the rules of engagement.
He stressed that "Beheading of our soldiers is unacceptable," and warned against such acts of provocation. "I have given very categorical directions to the Northern Command... I expect my commanders to be aggressive...," the army chief said.
"We reserve the right to retaliate to Pakistan's attack at a place and time of our choosing," he added.
Hemraj's widow Dharamvati and mother Meena Devi observed a fast for six days, demanding that his head be given back. However, the Pakistani army continued to maintain that its personnel did not behead him or any other Indian jawan.