The Delhi High Court today said it will hear on January 28 an appeal of National Herald publisher Associated Journals Ltd (AJL), challenging a single judge order asking it to vacate its premises in New Delhi.
A bench headed by Chief Justice Rajendra Menon cited some health issues and asked whether the matter could be heard some other day.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the Centre, and senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, appearing for AJL, agreed.
The Chief Justice said he has to undergo some surgery and can take up the matter any day after January 24.
The bench, also comprising Justice VK Rao, listed the appeal for hearing on January 28.
A single judge on December 21 last year dismissed AJL's plea challenging the Centre's order to vacate its premises and asked the publisher to vacate the ITO premises within two weeks after which eviction proceedings under the Public Premises (Eviction of Unauthorised Occupants) Act, 1971, would be initiated.
AJL approached the high court seeking a stay on the single judge order.
The high court had dismissed AJL's plea challenging the Centre's order by holding that the publisher has not provided any instance to support the serious allegations of mala fide levelled against the ruling dispensation.
The Centre had ended its 56-year-old lease and asked AJL to vacate the premises, saying no printing or publishing activity was going on. In its order, the single judge had said that AJL has been "hijacked" by Young Indian (YI), in which Congress chief Rahul Gandhi and his mother Sonia Gandhi are shareholders.
The Centre and Land and Development Office (L&DO) had said in their order that no press has functioned in the premises for at least 10 years and it was being used only for commercial purposes in violation of the lease deed.
AJL had denied the allegations in the petition filed in the high court.
The high court had said by transfer of AJL's 99 per cent shares to YI, the beneficial interest of AJL's property worth Rs 413.40 crore stands "clandestinely" transferred to YI.