The Associated Journals Ltd (AJL), publishers of ‘National Herald’, on Monday told the Delhi High Court that transfer of its majority shares to Young India (YI), in which Congress president Rahul Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi are shareholders, will not make them owners of its premises in the national capital, which it has been asked to vacate.
The AJL also informed the bench of Chief Justice Rajendra Menon and Justice V K Rao that even a 100-per cent shareholder of a company would not become the owner of its assets.
The AJL has challenged a single judge order on December 21 last year, which directed it to vacate the premises.
Appearing for AJL, senior advocate Abhishek Singhvi argued that it was a “complete antithesis of company law to say that change in shareholding of a company would lead to change in lessee of properties owned by it”.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta argued that in the manner the shares were transferred, the court needs to “pierce the corporate veil” of AJL to see who owns the premises — Herald House — leased to it for running a printing press. He also contended that the land in question was allocated to AJL on lease for printing press, and this “dominant purpose” was stopped several years ago.
The Centre had ended its 56-year-old lease and asked AJL to vacate the premises, saying that no printing or publishing activity was going on there.