New Delhi, Nov 15:
In a relief to the Associated Journals Ltd (AJL), the Delhi High Court in an interim direction on Thursday ordered that status quo should be maintained until November 22 at the Herald House here from where the National Herald is published.
Justice Sunil Gaur's order came on a plea filed by AJL challenging the Centre's October 30 direction that the Herald House be vacated.
The AJL alleged that the Centre was "illegally, unconstitutionally, arbitrarily and in a deliberate attempt" trying "to suppress and destroy the legacy of the first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru".
The Urban Development Ministry had said that the Herald House's 56-year-old lease to AJL had ended and asked the AJL to vacate the premises by November 15.
The central government on Thursday assured the court that it would not take possession of the premise but only initiate legal proceedings to have the building vacated.
The AJL told the court that it had been publishing the National Herald newspaper for decades. There was a brief temporary suspension due to financial trouble but the newspaper and its digital media operations had been fully resumed.
The weekly 'National Herald on Sunday' was resumed on September 24, 2017 and it is published from the Herald House. On October 14, the AJL resumed its weekly Hindi newspaper.
The government reportedly inspected the premises a few months ago and found that the area allotted to AJL was not being used for the publication of the newspaper for the past 10 years, the court was told.
AJL said that those who came for inspection did not visit the rooms where the printing press was installed along with stocks of papers.
News24 Bureau/ IANS