The Delhi High Court Friday rejected the allegations of Associated Journals Ltd (AJL), publisher of National Herald, that the Centre's move to evict it from its premises in New Delhi was a covert measure to erase and defame the legacy of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru.
The high court also termed as "preposterous" AJL's claim that the eviction order of the ruling dispensation was mala fide, bias and issued with oblique motives. "One fails to understand as to how the ruling dispensation has in any way erased, effaced or defamed Pandit (Jawaharlal) Nehru. To say the least, the allegations of mala fide are preposterous and no note of these allegations is required to be taken," Justice Sunil Gaur said.
The court's observations came while directing the AJL to vacate its premises at ITO area within two weeks failing which proceedings under the Public Premises (Eviction of Unauthorized Occupants) Act, 1971, would be initiated for its eviction.
Following is the chronology of events in the National Herald eviction case:
- 20 November, 1937: AJL incorporated.
- 9 September, 1938: National Herald founded by Jawahar Lal Nehru.
- 1962-63: Land measuring 0.3365 acres allotted to AJL on Delhi-Mathura Road at 5-A, Bahadur Shah Zafar Marg, near ITO.
- Jan 10, 1967: Perpetual lease deed executed in AJL's favour by the Land and Development Office (L&DO) for construction of building to run a Press and no other purpose.
- 2002: The then All India Congress Committee treasurer Motilal Vora appointed as CMD.
- November 2010: Young Indian incorporated with a capital of Rs 50 lakh.
- December 2010: AJL makes book entry in accounts by substituting YI in place of AICC as entity entitled to recover Rs 90 crore debt. Right to recover debt assigned to YI for just Rs 50 lakh.
- December 2010: Entire control of AJL vested with Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi, Motilal Vohra and Oscar Fernandes.
- 2011: YI acquires the beneficial interest in AJL's property worth Rs 413 crore
- 7 January, 2013: L&DO permits AJL to use basement and anyone floor of the building for the Press and offices and remaining floors could be let out for commercial concerns.
- 5 October, 2016: Breach notice issued by L&DO to AJL as no Press was functioning from the premises for years and was being used mainly for commercial purposes through sub-letting to various organisations.
- 9 April, 2018: Inspection conducted by L&DO at premises in Vora's presence.
- 18 June, 2018: Show-cause notice issued to AJL.
- 17 July, 2018: AJL replies to show-cause notice.
- 24 September 2018: Another show-cause notice to AJL on finding additional violations.
- 9 October 2018: AJL replies to second show-cause notice.
- 30 October 2018: L&DO issues eviction order to AJL and asks it to vacate premises by Nov 15.
- 12 November 2018: AJL moves Delhi High Court challenging eviction order.
- 15 November 2018: HC directs Centre to maintain status quo.
- 22 November 2018: HC reserves order on AJL's plea.
- 21 December 2018: HC directs AJL to vacate premises within two weeks by dismissing its petition.
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Updated Date: Dec 21, 2018 22:59:11 IST