“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 Delhi High Court on Friday dismissed the plea by Associated Journals Ltd (AJL), challenging the Centre’s order to vacate the premises in the national capital.
Justice Sunil Gaur observed that AJL will have to vacate the premises within two weeks after which proceedings under the Public Premises (Eviction of Unauthorized Occupants) Act, 1971 would be initiated.
In the order ending its 56-year-old lease, the Centre and Land and Development Office (L&DO) has said no press has been functioning in the premises for at least the past 10 years and it was being used only for commercial purposes in violation of the lease deed.
“One fails to understand as to how the ruling dispensation has in any way erased, effaced or defamed Pt. Nehru”
One of the interesting contentions raised by AJL was that the ruling dispensation has adopted covert and overt measures to erase, efface and defame the legacy of Pt. Nehru.
In this regard, the court said: “No instances have been provided by petitioners in the writ petition in support of the serious allegations of mala fide levelled against the ruling dispensation. It has not been shown as to how the impugned order is vitiated by mala fide or what is the bias. It is not spelt out as to what is the oblique motive in passing of the impugned order. One fails to understand as to how the ruling dispensation has in any way erased, effaced or defamed Pt. Nehru. To say the least, the allegations of mala fide are preposterous and no note of these allegations is required to be taken.”
Hardly Any Press Activity
The court said a major portion of the 'subject premises' was rented out and the newspaper, which was to be housed originally in the basement and ground floor, has now been shifted on the top floor with hardly any 'press activity'.
The court further said: “What has been disclosed is that National Herald is a weekly newspaper and as regards the online publication of petitioners' Newspaper, no data is forthcoming. Petitioners are silent as to what is the extent of circulation of petitioners' newspaper, both in print and online, across the country. It is not the case of petitioners that any leading articles are published in their newspaper nor is there anything on record to indicate as to what are the editorial policies.”
Modus operandi to acquire 99% of AJL’s shares speaks volumes
The bench also took note of the fact that AJL has been taken over by Young Indian Company for all practical purposes. It said: “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.”
Read the Judgment Here