The Centre on Thursday assured the Delhi High Court that there will be no evictions from the Herald House building in New Delhi after the court asked the government to maintain a status quo till November 22 in a plea filed by the Associtation Journals in connection with the National Herald case, PTI reported. The Associated Journals, the publisher of the National Herald newspaper, had challenged the government’s order asking it to vacate the Herald House building.
The National Herald case involves Congress President Rahul Gandhi and former party president Sonia Gandhi, party leaders Oscar Fernandes, Suman Dubey, Sam Pitroda and Motilal Vora.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing on behalf of the government, assured the court that it will maintain status quo till the next hearing on November 22. Senior advocate Abhishek M Singhvi, appearing for the Associated Journals, said that status quo meant no taking over of possession as well as no initiation of proceedings under the Public Premises (Eviction of Unauthorised Occupants) Act, 1971.
In an order on October 30, the Land and Development Office under the Ministry of Urban Development had asked the Associated Journals to vacate the building at the Press Enclave in ITO by November 15. Associated Journals on November 12 challenged the order in the High Court. When the matter had come up for hearing the next day, the court had said the plea did not merit an urgent hearing.
The Land and Development Office had ended the 56-year-old lease and asked the company to hand over possession by November 15. If the company failed to do so, the government would initiate proceedings under the Public Premises Act, said the order.
The order of the Land and Development Office claimed that Associated Journals violated the land deed by using the building for commercial purposes as no press has been functioning there for the last 10 years. Associated Journals has denied the allegation, saying that printing work has been continuing over the last several decades.