AJL moves SC against HC order to vacate Herald House

Indo Asian News Service

New Delhi, March 11 (IANS) The Associated Journals Ltd (AJL), publisher of the National Herald newspaper, on Monday moved the Supreme Court challenging Delhi High Court order directing it to vacate its building at Bahadur Shah Zafar Marg - a street having the offices of various newspapers.

The AJL has sought a stay of the high court's February 28 decision and also that of the Law and Development Officer's October 30, 2018 order asking the AJL to vacate the Herald House as its lease has ended.

The AJL had executed the lease deed on January 10, 1967.

A division bench of the Delhi High Court had on February 28 refused to interfere with the single judge bench's December 21, 2018 order, describing it as a reasonable order passed in the facts and circumstances of the present case.

The AJL, in its plea before the Supreme Court challenging the High Court order, has contended that the "determination of the lease deed (by the Land and Development Officer) is ex facie malicious, arbitrary, based on extraneous grounds, and has been effected for political considerations contrary to the express provisions of the lease deed itself".

Referring to the High Court referring to transfer of shares from AJL to Young Indian as "not permissible in law, fraudulent in nature", the AJL, in its plea, contended that "neither Young Indian, nor the Directors, or shareholders were parties to the instant proceedings".

Besides Congress leaders Oscar Fernandes and Motilal Vora, Congress President Rahul Gandhi and his mother and former party chief Sonia Gandhi are its shareholders.

The AJL also contended despite noticing the voluminous evidence placed on record to show that it was, in fact, carrying out the publication of several newspapers for last several decades, it was held that no press activity was going on from the premises.

The High Court had relied on a latter by Congress leader Vora on September 26, 2016 about non-publication of the newspaper due to financial trouble for over eight years, it said.

--IANS

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