Delhi High Court on Friday directed Associated Journals Ltd (AJL), publisher of Congress mouthpiece National Herald, to vacate its premises in the national capital within two weeks.
The High Court dismissed AJL’s plea challenging the Centre’s order to vacate its premises.
Earlier, the Centre and Land and Development Office (L&DO) have said in their order that no press has been functioning in the premises for at least past 10 years and it was being used only for commercial purposes in violation of the lease deed.
However, Justice Sunil Gaur rejected the contentions of the AJL challenging the Centre’s October 30 order ending its 56-year-old lease.
The court had earlier asked the government to maintain status quo with regard to enforcement of the October 30 order.
The High Court said AJL will have to vacate the premises at ITO within two weeks after which proceedings under the Public Premises (Eviction of Unauthorized Occupants) Act, 1971 would be initiated.
The Centre said that all the procedures have been followed to the hilt before issuing the notice.
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AJL had opposed the Centre’s stand, saying that publication of web editions began in 2016 and the issue of absence of printing press in the premises was not raised then.
Without naming the BJP, the AJL alleged that the order was issued under pressure and directives from the ruling party at the Centre is vitiated by mala fide, bias and had “oblique political motives”.
In its plea, AJL has also said that the digital versions of English newspaper National Herald, Hindi’s Navjivan and Urdu’s Qaumi Awaz have commenced since 2016-17.
The weekly newspaper ‘National Herald on Sunday’ resumed on September 24 last year and the place of publication was , AJL had said, adding that the Hindi weekly newspaper Sunday Navjivan was also being published since October this year from the same premises.