Delhi HC Upholds Eviction Of Congress Mouthpiece National Herald’s Parent Company From Its Headquarters

Swarajya Staff

Feb 28, 2019, 01:17 PM | Updated 01:17 PM IST

Herald House in Delhi (@airnewsalerts/Twitter)
Herald House in Delhi (@airnewsalerts/Twitter)

The eviction order by the centre and the Land and Development Office (LDO) directing National Herald publisher Associated Journals Ltd (AJL) to vacate its premises at ITO, where Herald house is located, has been upheld by a division bench of the Delhi High Court today (Friday, 28 February), reports Live Law.

The original order had been passed citing the reason that the premises were not being used for running a press for the at last 10 years, and instead were being used for commercial activity, which was against the lease deed.

Previously, a single bench of the Delhi High Court had rejected AJL’s plea to set aside the order against it; Justice Sunil Gaur in the judgment had taken note of how 99 per cent of AJL’s shared had been transferred to Young India (YI), a company in which Congress president Rahul Gandhi and his mother Sonia Gandhi are prominent holders of equity.

"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," the bench observed.

It was reasoned by the court that the 99 per cent share transfer meant that AJL’s property of around Rs 413.40 crore had been ‘clandestinely’ transferred to YI. This judgement was today upheld by a division bench comprising of Chief Justice Rajendra Menon and Justice V K Rao.

The centre argued in the case that the transfer of shares had essentially caused a ‘virtual sale’. As part of its appeal, AJL contended that digital versions of its newspapers in Hindi, English and Urdu had been launched starting from 2016-17. It also claimed that two of its weeklies were being published from the ITO premises since 2017.

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