New Delhi: The Supreme Court, on Friday, put a stay on Delhi high court’s order asking the Associated Journals Limited, the publishers of the National Herald newspaper, to evict the Herald House building in New Delhi’s Bahadur Shah Zafar Marg.
A bench headed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi ordered the stay of proceedings against AJL under the Public Premises (Eviction of Unauthorised Occupants) Act, 1971 until further notice and said the question to be decided was whether there was a violation of the lease. The National Herald newspaper was started by former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, in 1938.
The AJL moved to the apex court challenging the high court’s February 28, 2019 order.
Apart from staying the eviction order, the Supreme Court also issued a notice to the Centre and asked for a response within four weeks. This matter was taken to the Delhi HC after the Centre ended a 56-year-old lease and asked AJL to vacate the premises as there was no printing or publishing activity going on, the actual objective for which the building was allotted in 1962.
Delhi high court’s single-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Rajendra Menon and Justice VK Rao upheld gave the order of eviction, as the “the dominant purpose” for which Herald House was leased out to AJL “no longer exists.”
The Centre also claimed that there was a transfer of 99 per cent of the shares in the AJL to Young Indian, a charitable company in which Congress president Rahul Gandhi and his mother Sonia Gandhi are majority stakeholders.