NEW DELHI: In a major relief to Congress president Rahul Gandhi and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, the Supreme Court on Friday stayed the Delhi High Court order asking Associated Journals Ltd (AJL), publisher of National Herald, to vacate the Herald House building.
A bench headed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi also issued a notice to the Centre's Land and Development Office (L&DO) on the AJL plea.
The publisher had moved the court against the high court order dismissing its plea to restrain the Centre from taking coercive steps to evict it from Herald House in the ITO area.
The high court had held that the transfer of shares of AJL to Young Indian company, in which Rahul Gandhi and his mother Sonia are majority shareholders, was a "clandestine and surreptitious transfer of the lucrative interest in the premises" to Young Indian.
The publisher has also requested the top court to set aside the Centre's order of October 30, 2018 ending its 56-year-old lease and asking it to vacate the premises on the grounds that no printing or publishing activity was going on and the building was being used only for commercial purposes.
On February 28, the high court had dismissed the plea of AJL and had said there had been "misuse" of lease conditions.
The AJL's plea said that the political dispensation in power at the Centre had never hidden its pathological hatred for Nehruvian ideas.
"One of their favourite propaganda is to blame Pandit Nehru for almost everything that ails the nation. The eviction proceedings constitute a malicious step in the larger design of defaming and effacing the legacy of Pandit Nehru," it said.
The Centre and L&DO had said that no press was functioning on the premises for at least 10 years and it was being used only for commercial purposes in violation of the lease deed, which was denied by AJL in its petitions filed in the high court and in the apex court.