No Urgency, Says High Court On Plea Against Ending National Herald Building Lease

Delhi High Court posted the petition for hearing on November 15

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No Urgency, Says High Court On Plea Against Ending National Herald Building Lease

Petition said the government order was illegal, unconstitutional and arbitrary


New Delhi: 

The Delhi High Court on Tuesday ruled that there was no urgency in hearing the petition by the Associated Journals Ltd (AJL) challenging the centre's order that had ended the lease of its building in the capital.

The AJL, publisher of three newspapers including the National Herald, an English daily founded and edited by Jawaharlal Nehru, had moved the High Court on Monday against the Urban Development Ministry's order, asking the company to vacate the premises in the press enclave at ITO after cancelling a 56-year old lease.   

Justice Sunil Gaur posted the petition for hearing on November 15.  

In the petition, the publisher of the newspapers had sought cancelling order issued on October 30 on the ground that it was "illegal, unconstitutional, arbitrary, and malafide." The AJL had challenged both the "authority and jurisdiction" of the Ministry in issuing such an order.  

The petitioner said the centre had also warned them of action under the Public Premises (Eviction of Unauthorized Occupants) Act, 1971, if they failed to vacate the premises. 

A show-cause notice had been issued to the company in June after an inspection was carried out on the premises in April. The petitioner had alleged that inspection was not conducted "to ascertain whether there was any printing activity on the premises" of the building. 

One of the reasons mentioned in the order to vacate the building was that no newspaper office has been functioning on the premises for last 10 years and the building was being used only for "commercial purposes" against the conditions on the lease agreement.

This allegation has been refuted by AJL in the petition. The AJL said there has been "printing activity" on the premises over the last several decades and also as on date of issuing the notice.  The company said the digital versions of English newspaper 'National Herald', Hindi's 'Navjivan' and Urdu's 'Qaumi Awaz' have been running from the building from "2016-17."

The weekly newspaper 'National Herald on Sunday' was resumed from September 24 last year and the place of publication was the ITO premises, the petition claimed, and added that the Hindi weekly newspaper 'Sunday Navjivan' was also being published since October this year from the same premises.



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