The Supreme Court on Saturday stayed criminal proceedings against Rajesh Talwar and his wife Nupur initiated by the CBI special court in Ghaziabad in the case of the murder of their daughter Aarushi and domestic help Hemraj.

It being a holiday, a Bench Justices B. Sudershan Reddy and S.S. Nijjar held a special sitting at 7 p.m. After hearing senior counsel Pinaki Mishra, it stayed the Allahabad High Court order refusing to interfere with the special court proceedings.

The Bench, while issuing notice to the CBI, directed the doctor couple to surrender their passports in the special court on March 21.

A day after the High Court declined to interfere with the CBI special court's order issuing a bailable warrant to Dr. Rajesh Talwar for non-appearance in response to summons and to his wife for appearance in the double murder case, the couple moved the Supreme Court. On March 18, the High Court refused to quash the criminal proceedings initiated by the CBI court, which on February 9 did not accept the agency's closure report. Instead, the CBI court made the Talwars accused on charges of murder, destruction of evidence and common intention to commit the crime, and charged them under Sections 302, 201 and 34 of the Indian Penal Code.

Aarushi (14) was found murdered under mysterious circumstances in her house in Noida on May 16, 2008. The next day, Hemraj's body was found on the terrace of the flat.

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