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Rediff.com  » News » Delhi HC stays eviction of Nehru Memorial Fund from Teen Murti Estate

Delhi HC stays eviction of Nehru Memorial Fund from Teen Murti Estate

November 01, 2018 23:56 IST

IMAGE: The Nehru Memorial Museum and Library in the Teen Murti Bhavan complex in New Delhi. Photograph: Arun Sharma/PTI Photo

The Delhi high court on Thursday stayed the eviction notice given to Jawaharlal Nehru Memorial Fund to vacate the Teen Murti Estate Complex, from where it was operating.

The court sought response of the Centre on JNMF's plea to set aside the estate officer's October 15 eviction notice.

Justice Anu Malhotra listed the matter for further hearing on November 16.

 

Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, who appeared for JNMF, contended that the eviction notice issued under the provisions of the Public Premises Act (Eviction of Unauthorized Occupants) Act, 1971 was arbitrary and without jurisdiction and has been issued without application of mind.

The JNMF has denied the claims that it was in illegal possession of the property.

Established in 1964, the Fund has been located at Teen Murti, once the residence of India's first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru, since 1967.

Its offices are not part of the main building but occupy a set of barracks on its eastern side with a separate entry from Teen Murti Marg.

The petition, filed through advocates Sunil Fernandes and Priyansha Indra Sharma, said the notice was malafide and has been issued for ulterior political motives.

The petition said the proceedings initiated by the estate officer are part of a larger design to efface and destroy the legacy and contributions of Nehru and create a new historical narrative.

"The impugned show cause notice has been issued in pursuance of the ulterior political motives by the incumbent central government to destroy and efface the legacy and history of the contributions of Jawaharlal Nehru.

"The legacy of Nehru is a historical fact which is now sought to be effaced by the central government led by the BJP which is totally opposed to the secular and inclusive principles which Nehru stood for," the plea alleged.

The JNMF said it is a charitable trust and it is clear that the Directorate of Estates has no jurisdiction to initiate any proceedings in relation to the property of Nehru Memorial Museum and Library which is a registered society and the JNMF is in legal occupation of the premises.

It said the premises of NMML do not fall under the definition of 'public premises' of Section 2(e) of the PP Act.

"In view thereof, the very assumption of jurisdiction by the Estate Officer by issuing the show cause notice... dated October 15, 2018 is patently illegal, ex-facie without jurisdiction and without application of mind," it said.

The plea said that after the notice, JNMF's officer appeared before the estate officer on October 23, who did not grant reasonable time to present their defence and posted the matter for further proceedings on November 5.

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