The Delhi High Court Friday sought to know the Centre’s stand on 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.
A bench of Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Subramonium Prasad asked the counsel for the Centre to take instructions on the issue raised in the petition filed by an 84-year-old man.
The public interest litigation (PIL) sought 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.
Atmaram Saraogi, a resident of Kolkata, said in the petition that 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, represented through senior advocate Gopal Sankaranarayanan, 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, filed through advocate Hemant Raj Phalpher, sought to declare that the phrase ‘Central government’ used in all legislations be read down to mean ‘Union government’ or ‘Union of India’.
“The present PIL has only been filed by the petitioner being 84 years of age with a genuine concern to correct this continued error of usage of terms, which has the potential to denude the relationship and ties between the Union government and the State governments, thereby shake the very edifice of our Constitution,” the plea said.
The petitioner said he had given a representation to the Department of Legal Affairs to take appropriate action in this regard but since no action was taken, thereafter, he filed the PIL in court.
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