Justice Rajiv Shakdher also issued notice to the Press Information Bureau (PIB) and the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting seeking their responses by May 9 to the Press Association’s plea challenging the government’s decision.
“Meanwhile, there shall be stay of the order (of eviction),” the court said and asked the government to “try and work out” the issue.
The government, defending its decision, said the petitioner body — Press Association — was asked to move out as the Indian Information Service was moving into the NMC.
The ministry also told the court that the room was “state largesse” given free of cost to the association, comprising over 700 accredited journalists, and it had no legal right to continue occupying it.
It also told the court that the order asking the association to vacate the room did not prevent the scribes from accessing the facilities of the NMC, nor did it take away their accreditation.
The court, however, did not accept the contention, saying that despite not having any right to government housing, scribes have been provided this benefit.
The association’s counsel alleged in the court that it was asked to vacate the room in question as it had joined the protests against the attacks on journalists.
It told the court that since 1965, it had a room in the Shastri Bhawan, and thereafter when the NMC was built in 2014, the association was asked to shift there in July 2014.
Source : PTI