New Delhi, November 13: The Delhi High Court on Tuesday said that it will hear on Thursday a plea filed by the Associated Journals Ltd (AJL) challenging the Centre's order asking it to vacate the Herald House here.
Justice Sunil Gaur deferred the hearing saying that the file had still not reached the court and he needed time to read it. The AJL, which publishes the National Herald newspaper, has alleged that the government's order dated October 30 was illegal, unconstitutional, arbitrary and a deliberate attempt to suppress and destroy the legacy of the first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru.
It said the order was only a political witch hunt aimed at dismantling and destroying the voice of dissent and opposition parties. In the order, the Urban Development Ministry has ended a 56-year-old lease to AJL asking it to vacate the premises by Thursday.
The AJL approached the court on Monday challenging the order. The government reportedly inspected the premises a few months ago and found that the area allotted to AJL were not being used for the publication of the newspaper in the past 10 years.
AJL had been publishing the newspaper for the last several decades. Although there was a brief temporary suspension due to financial trouble, the formal newspaper and digital media operations had fully resumed.
The weekly 'National Herald on Sunday' was resumed on September 24, 2017 and the place of publication is the Herald House, Delhi. On October 14, the AJL resumed its weekly Hindi newspaper.
The plea also apprised the court that the committee members which came for inspection did not visit the rooms where the printing press was installed along with the stock of papers.