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HC reserves order in Herald House case

Thursday - November 22, 2018 7:48 pm , Category : INDIA
New Delhi, Nov 22 (IANS) The Delhi High Court on Thursday reserved its order on the Associated Journals Ltd's (AJL) plea challenging the Central government's October 30 direction asking it to vacate the Herald House.
 
Justice Sunil Gaur extended the High Court's interim direction to maintain status quo till his further orders.
 
The court has also observed that AJL is publishing a newspaper now and sought clarification from Solicitor General (SG) Tushar Mehta why has the government issued notice for getting the premise vacated.
 
Mehta told the court that AJL has violated the lease agreement and revived National Herald only after the Centre sent a notice for inspection of the property in September 2016.
 
The court was hearing AJL plea alleging that the Centre was "illegally, unconstitutionally, arbitrarily and in a deliberate attempt" trying "to suppress and destroy the legacy of first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru".
 
The Central government has, however, refuted the claim.
 
Mehta told the court that the notice was not politically motivated nor issued with malafide intention.
 
Mehta told the court that a weekly newspaper is published from Noida, not from Herald House and also questioned the sale of AJL to Young Indian.
 
Senior Advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi countered the allegations and said that it was a popular practice by media houses to print the newspaper from some other place citing example of some major newspapers which are also printing newspaper from other places.
 
The Urban Development Ministry had said the Herald House's 56-year-old lease to AJL had ended and asked the AJL to vacate the premises by November 15.
 
The publisher had approached the High Court on November 12 challenging the October 30 order of the Ministry.
 
The AJL told the court that it has been publishing the "National Herald" newspaper for decades. There was a temporary suspension due to financial trouble, but the newspaper and its digital media operations have now fully resumed.
 
The publication of weekly "National Herald on Sunday" was resumed on September 24, 2017 and it is published from the Herald House. On October 14, the AJL also resumed its weekly Hindi newspaper.
 
The government reportedly inspected the premises a few months ago and found that the area allotted to AJL was not being used for the publication of the newspaper for the past 10 years, the court was told.
 

--IANS akk/ahm/sed