The Delhi High Court on February 28 dismissed Associated Journals Limited’s (AJL) plea challenging the Centre's order to vacate the Herald House premises here.
“The appeal is dismissed,” a bench of Chief Justice Rajendra Menon and Justice V.K. Rao said as it refused to interfere with an earlier decision of a single judge order to AJL to vacate it’s Herald building.
AJL is owned by Young India (YI), in which Congress Chief Rahul Gandhi and his mother Sonia Gandhi are majority shareholders.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Centre, had argued that the land in question was allocated to AJL on lease for the printing press and this “dominant purpose” was stopped several years ago.
The Single Judge Bench had on December 21 ordered AJL to vacate the Herald House while observing that “it is not the case of the Petitioners (AJL) that any leading articles are published in their newspaper”.
Senior advocate Abhishek M Singhvi, appearing for AJL, had argued that this observation of the Single Judge Bench is a “judicial invention of the terms of the lease deed which is impermissible”.
Additionally, he challenged the Single Judge Bench holding that AJL has been “hijacked” by ‘Young Indian’ saying “there was no material on record to justify the finding”.
Rebutting the argument that the ownership of AJL has been transferred to Young Indian to benefit the shareholders, Mr Singhvi argued that, “A shareholder is not an owner to the assets of the company”.