HC seeks Centre’s reply on plea by Press Club… The Delhi High Court has sought a response from the government on a plea by the Press Club of India (PCI), seeking possession of a plot, which it claimed was allotted to it in March 2002 to construct a club.
Justice Vibhu Bakhru asked the Centre’s Land and Development Office (L&DO) not to allot the plot to anyone till the next date of hearing on October 12.
“Issue notice. The learned counsel appearing for the respondent accepts notice. The counter affidavit, if any, be filed within a period of three weeks from today,” the High Court said in its order on August 30.
The Central government’s standing counsel Anurag Ahluwalia, appearing for the L&DO, assured the court that the land in question would not be allotted to anyone and the authority has only called for a meeting with the Press Club officials.
The PCI, in its plea, has claimed that it had initially paid an amount of ₹1.43 crore and later in 2014 and 2017 it had paid ₹ 1.31 crore and ₹ 2.45 crore respectively, towards ground rent and interest of the plot on Dr. Rajendra Prasad Road here.
It has said that on June 19, 2018, the L&DO sent a letter to the Press Club, asking it to take possession of the land on June 20.
The petition by the PCI stated that on June 20, the club was sent a text message, in which it was said that possession could not be handed over that day.
Despite several follow-up letters sent by the Press Club on handover of the land thereafter, no response was received, it also stated.
Thereafter, on August 16 the L&DO asked the secretary general of the Press Club to appear before it along with a copy of its balance sheet, bank statements of the past six months, documents related to proposed funding of the construction and action plan of the work.