AJL challenges HC's order to evict 'Herald House'

AJL challenges HC's order to evict 'Herald House'

Associated Journal Ltd, controlled by top brass of Congress party, on Monday approached the Supreme Court challenging the Delhi High Court's order of February 28 to vacate 'Herald House' here, saying the action initiated against it was due to present dispensation's “pathological hatred for Nehruvian ideals”.

The AJL contended that the eviction proceedings were for the purposes of “scuttling the voice of democratic dissent of the Congress Party”.

“It is a clear affront to the freedom of speech and expression guaranteed under Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution and a deliberate attempt to suppress and destroy the legacy of the first Prime Minister of the country i.e. Jawaharlal Nehru, who was the guiding light for the publications of the petitioner-company,” it said in its special leave petition.

The company which published Congress mouthpiece 'National Herald' and others, questioned the high court's division bench judgement which noted that the major portion of the five-storey building at 0.3 acre of the prime land was rented out and there was hardly any press activity as the newspaper has been shifted out to the top floor.

The company said there were other eight allottees or lessees at Bahadur Shah Zafar Marg who have subleased a portion of their premises.

The Land and Development office had on October 30, last cancelled the lease of 'Herald House' at Bahadur Shah Zafar Marg and ordered for vacating the building while exercising power under the Public Premises (Eviction of Unauthorised Occupants) Act, 1971.

The company also challenged the findings of the HC stating transferring of AJL's shares to Young India, with Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi, Sonia and others, having majority stake holders, indicated “the dishonest and fraudulent design”

“The HC as a court of record could not have rendered findings that a transaction was purportedly clandestine and surreptitious transaction without there being any affidavit or averment by the official-respondents in the writ petition,” it said.

Notably, Sonia and Rahul each owned 38 % shares of Young India Pvt Ltd, which held the majority stakes in the AJL.

The high court also noted, “This court is conscious of the fact that Young Indian Company is a charitable company, but modus operandi to acquire 99% of AJL's shares speaks volumes. The manner in which it has been done is also questionable.”

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