Plea on advance hearing in JNMF case declined

Memorial fund was sent notice to vacate Teen Murti Estate

The Delhi High Court on Friday declined the Centre’s plea to advance the hearing of a petition filed by Jawaharlal Nehru Memorial Fund (JNMF) challenging the estate officer’s eviction notice.

A Bench of Justice Yogesh Khanna remarked that the case was already posted for hearing on February 19 and hence an early hearing date will not make any difference.

The JNMF has been embroiled in a legal battle with the Centre after the estate officer issued an eviction notice in October last.

The Centre has maintained that the land where Teen Murti Estate, which includes JNMF, is situated belonged to the government since the establishment of the Capital. The Deputy Director of Estates at Directorate of Estates has said JNMF has failed to produce any authority which allows or permits it to use the premises.

Denied claims

The JNMF has denied the claims that it was in illegal possession of the property. The JNMF, established in 1964, has been operating and carrying out its activities from Teen Murti Estate Complex in New Delhi. It grants scholarships and awards to distinguished scholars and persons for doing meritorious work in the field of international goodwill and understanding.

On September 11, 2018, the estate officer issued notice under the Public Premises (Eviction of Unauthorised Occupants) Act contending that JNMF is in occupation of the premises without an authority of law.

The estate officer additionally said that no statutory or contractual relationship exists between the Central government and the JNMF recognised by law.

It directed the JNMF to vacate the premises within 10 days of receipt of the letter and handover the vacant possession to the Central Public Works Department (CPWD).

The JNMF responded calling upon the estate officer to withdraw its letter. The office of the estate officer then issued notice on October 15, 2018, under the PP Act to show cause on why an order of eviction should not be made against the JNMF.

‘Ulterior motives’

The JNMF has contended that the show cause notice has been issued “in pursuance of the ulterior political motives by the incumbent Central government. It is submitted that the proceedings are a “part of a larger design to efface and destroy the legacy and contributions of Nehru from the collective consciousness of the people of this country and create a new historical narrative”.

On Friday, the Central government has urged the High Court for an early hearing, saying they were trying to vacate JNMF from Teen Murti Complex here as they need more space to expand the library.

But the Bench said that it could give an early date on February 14 or 18, but considering that the hearing is already posted for February 19, it is not going to make any difference.

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Printable version | Jun 3, 2020 11:58:25 AM |

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