The Associated Journals Limited, which publishes the Congress mouthpiece National Herald, told the Supreme Court on Monday that the eviction order issued to it to vacate Herald House was aimed at “scuttling the democratic dissent” of the party and a “deliberate attempt to suppress and destroy the legacy of…Jawaharlal Nehru”.
In its appeal filed in the apex court challenging the February 28 judgment of Delhi High Court that upheld the eviction order, AJL said it’s “clear, consistent and vehement ground” has been that the eviction proceedings are “actuated by bias and malafide.”
“The publications of the Petitioner-Company espouse the ideology of the Congress Party… The eviction proceedings have been initiated for the purposes of scuttling the voice of democratic dissent of the Congress Party. It is a clear affront to the freedom of speech and expression… and a deliberate attempt to suppress and destroy the legacy of the first Prime Minister of the country i.e. Shri Jawaharlal Nehru, who was the guiding light for the publications of the Petitioner-Company,” the plea said.
AJL contended that “the present political dispensation in power at the Centre, has never hidden its pathological hatred for Nehruvian ideals”.
The High Court, while referring to the acquisition of AJL’s share by Young Indian (YI), said that applying the principle of lifting of corporate veil, it had “no hesitation in holding that the entire transaction of transferring the shares of AJL to YI was nothing but, as held by the writ court, a clandestine and surreptitious transfer of the lucrative interest in the premises to Young Indian”.
The appeal plea took exception to this and said, …the Hon’ble High Court as a court of record could not have rendered findings that a transaction was purportedly clandestine and surreptitious transaction without there being any affidavit or averment by the official-Respondents in the Writ Petition”.
It disputed the finding that there was no “No Press Activity”, saying that the petitioner has been continuously publishing “for over 7 decades and over 5 decades from the demised premises”.