Islamabad: An anti-terrorism court on Saturday put off its ruling on an application till May 3 challenging the contention of lawyers defending the seven suspects in the Mumbai attacks. The defence lawyers pleaded that Ajmal Kasab and Fahim Ansari cannot be retried in Pakistan.

Pakistani prosecutors filed the application on April 16.

During Saturday’s proceedings, anti-terrorism court Judge Rana Nisar Ahmed said at the heavily guarded Adiala Jail in Rawalpindi that he would give his ruling on the application at the next hearing on May 3.

"The prosecution lawyers presented their arguments on the matter today. The judge said he would rule on the application at the next hearing," Shahbaz Rajput, one of the defence lawyers, said after the hearing held behind closed doors for security reasons.

The prosecution's application contended that defence lawyers could not present an argument regarding Kasab and Ansari as they did not represent the two men, sources said.

The defence lawyers recently filed an application seeking the start of trial proceedings as soon as possible and recording of evidence against the accused.

The application was filed under Section 403 of the Code of Criminal Procedure and Article 13 of the Constitution, which state that no person can be put on trial or punished for the same offence more than once.

The defence lawyers' application was apparently aimed at stymieing the prosecution's efforts to gain access to Kasab, the lone surviving attacker involved in the Mumbai incident, and terror suspect Fahim Ansari.

Kasab was convicted and sentenced to death by an Indian court.

The same court acquitted Ansari, who continues to be in custody in connection with other cases.

The seven Pakistani suspects, including Lashkar-e-Taiba commander Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, have been charged with planning, facilitating and financing the attacks that killed 166 people.

(Agencies)