Centre opposes PIL to replace ‘Central government’ term with ‘Union government’

The Centre’s counsel argued that it was unnecessary litigation and the PIL should be dismissed as not maintainable.
Delhi High Court
Delhi High Court

NEW DELHI: The Centre, on Friday, opposed in the Delhi High Court a plea seeking to replace the term ‘Central government’ with the ‘Union’ or ‘Union government’, as intended by the Constitution in all its orders, notifications, and correspondences. The Centre’s counsel argued that it was unnecessary litigation and the PIL should be dismissed as not maintainable.

A bench of Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Sanjeev Narula granted time to the Centre to respond to the petition filed by an 84-year-old man and listed it for further hearing on December 5. The court was also informed that the Department Related Parliamentary Standing Committee on Personnel, Public Grievances, Law and Justice has looked into the use of the expression ‘Union of India’ in place of ‘Central government’ and the matter is still pending.

The Public Interest Litigation (PIL) seeks a direction to the Union of India, through the Ministry of Law and Justice, to use the expression ‘Union’, ‘Union government’ or ‘Union of India’ instead of ‘Central government’, ‘Centre’ or any other similar reference.

In his petition filed through advocate Hemant Phalpher, Kolkata-resident Atmaram Saraogi said the term ‘Union government’ has a unifying effect on the relationship between the Union and all the states and would go a long way in defying the false impression that there is a centralisation of power in the Union government and would further depict the right message in that regard.

The petitioner sought to strike down the definition of ‘Central government’ as defined under Section 3(8)(b) of the General Clauses Act, 1897 as being ultra vires to the Constitution.“Under our Constitution, India is a ‘Union of States’, and there cannot be any conceptualisation of a ‘Central government’ as existed under the British Raj.

However, this archaic phraseology continues to be employed wholly contrary to our system of governance,” it said. 

The plea sought to declare that the phrase ‘Central government’ used in all legislations must be read down to mean the ‘Union Government’ or the  ‘Union of India’.

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