New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Monday reserved its verdict in Associate Journals Ltd (AJL) eviction case, news agency ANI reported. Notably, AJL had appealed against the single bench order asking it to evict Herald House.  Hearing the plea, the court has asked the centre and AJL to file their written submissions in three days.

A single judge had 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.

It is pertinent to mention that the Centre had contended before the court that transfer of 99 per cent stake in AJL to YI, when the latter bought the former’s Rs 90 crore debt for a consideration of Rs 50 lakh, led to a “virtual” sale of the Herald building at ITO.

AJL had said the government kept silent till April 2018, when it again sent a notice for inspection and said it was coming to check breaches mentioned in the notice of October 10, 2016.

The L&DO had ended the lease – entered into with AJL on August 2, 1962, and made perpetual on January 10, 1967 – asking the company to hand over the possession by November 15. The L&DO’s order had also said failure to hand over possession would lead to the initiation of proceedings under the Public Premises Act.

In its plea, AJL has also said the digital versions of English newspaper National Herald, Hindi’s Navjivan and Urdu’s Qaumi Awaz have commenced from 2016-17.

The weekly newspaper ‘National Herald on Sunday’ resumed on September 24, 2017, and the place of publication was the ITO premises, AJL had said, adding that the Hindi weekly newspaper Sunday Navjivan was being published since October last year from the same premises.

(With agency inputs)