New Delhi: Dentist couple Rajesh and Nupur Talwar, facing charges of murder of their daughter Aarushi and domestic help Hemraj in 2008, got a reprieve on Saturday as the Supreme Court stayed the proceedings against them in a trial court in connection with the case.

A bench of Justices B Sudershan Reddy and S S Nijjar, which conducted the hearing at 7 pm in the Apex court on a holiday, however, asked the Talwars to surrender their passports before the trial court by Monday.

No counsel for CBI was present at the hearing which lasted for less than 15 minutes.

The bench listed the matter for further hearing "as per the date notified."

Though Rajesh was not present Nupur was there with some close relatives and a battery of lawyers.

The couple has challenged the Special CBI Judge's orders summoning them as accused and issuing bailable warrants in the sensational double murder.

The Apex Court granted relief to the Talwars after senior counsel Pinaki Mishra and Sandeep Kapur, appearing for the couple, termed the trial court's order as being "erroneous without any basis" and submitted that Nupur who was never interrogated by the investigation agency till date and yet had been made an accused.

The counsel further reiterated the defence's argument in the Allahabad High Court that blood stains recovered from the pillow covers of Hemraj was in fact traced to the residence of Krishna, the compounder.

The counsel alleged that instead of acting against the actual accused, CBI had named the couple as suspects on the basis of which the trial court had summoned them and issued bailable warrants against them.

The bench, however, asked the counsel, "What is the problem if you appear before the magistrate? Do you apprehend that you will be sent to jail?"

Admitting that the couple would be sent to jail, Mishra said Rajesh Talwar, after he was badly knifed by a youth, was still under a heavy bandage, making it difficult for him to respond to the summons.

Earlier in the day, the Talwars approached the Apex Court seeking a stay of criminal proceedings against them in the trial court in the case.

The couple challenged the order of the Allahabad High Court which has refused to stay the proceedings before a special CBI court at Ghaziabad in the sensational case.

The Allahabad High Court had dismissed the Talwar couple's plea on Friday seeking quashing of the proceedings initiated by the lower court which not only refused the closure report of CBI but also summoned them as accused in the case.

The High Court had said that it cannot prohibit the magistrate from taking cognisance of a case if prima facie it appears that there is sufficient evidence against a person.

The High Court had asked Nupur, who had submitted that she had been summoned despite never having been called for interrogation or having been named as an accused in CBI's closure report, to appear before the trial court within two weeks.

Another petition filed by Rajesh Talwar challenging bailable warrants issued by the Ghaziabad court on February 28 was dismissed by Justice Ravindra Singh.

On February 9, the Ghaziabad court had issued bailable warrants against the couple for their failure to appear before the court and to initiate proceedings against them after it had named them accused while rejecting the closure report of CBI, which was treated as the chargesheet.

14-year-old Aarushi was found murdered at her house in Noida in May 16, 2008, and Hemraj's body was recovered the following day from the same building.

(Agencies)