The Delhi High Court has held that the use of the expression “Central government” instead of the “Union government” would not dilute the federal structure of India, Bar and Bench reported on Tuesday.

A bench of Acting Chief Justice Manmohan and Justice Mini Pushkarna was hearing a public interest litigation filed by an 84-year-old social activist named Atmaram Saraogi.

Saraogi was seeking the court’s directions to replace the term “Central government” with the “Union government” in all legislations, orders, notifications, rules, executive actions and circulars of the government. He argued that under the Constitution, India is a “Union of states”. Therefore, he said, there cannot be any concept of a “Central government” as it existed during the British Raj.

While hearing the petition on December 19, the bench verbally observed that it did not matter what term anybody was using and that the court had “far more important matters”, reported Live Law. It dismissed the petition.

In a detailed order, the High Court noted that the Constitution has used the expressions “Union”, “Union of India”, “Government of India” as well as the “Central government” at various places.

“The contention of the petitioner that use of the expression ‘Central Government’ gives the wrong impression that state governments are subordinate to the Union government, is totally unacceptable,” the bench said. “The federal structure of the Constitution of our country is one of the essential and basic features of the Constitution.”

Referring to the definition of the expression “Central government” in the General Clauses Act, 1897, the bench also stated that, for the court, the expression “Central government” includes the “Government of India” which includes the “Union of India”.

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