Belgaum boundary dispute in the Supreme Court

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The Supreme Court on Wednesday sought a response from the Karnataka government on an application moved by Maharashtra contending that the boundary issues between the two states have not been settled in accordance with the settled principle.

 Maharashtra govt. has challenged the constitutional validity of certain provisions of the States Reorganisation Act, 1956 and the Bombay Reorganisation Act, 1960.

 In its affidavit, the Centre said: “The language of the people is one among the several criteria for inclusion of any area in a State. The Union government as well as Parliament had considered all relevant factors during the passing of the States Reorganisation Act. It is neither feasible nor desirable to demarcate the borders of villages, taluks and districts in a manner that the people speaking one language can or may be retained in one State only.”

 In view of the Centre’s stand, Maharashtra sought an amendment to the suit stating the disputed Marathi-speaking areas of the pre-Independence province of Bombay should have continued with the erstwhile State of Bombay and then with Maharashtra on the basis of the principle of reorganisation adopted by the States Reorganisation Commission. The transfer of Marathi-speaking areas to Karnataka was contrary to the basic principle of State reorganisation and an arbitrary and unreasonable exercise of power under Article 3 (formation of new States).

 The article deals with linguistic and cultural homogeneity and wishes of people of an area affected by reorganisation. The state government said even before Independence, provinces had been created on linguistic basis, deferring to the wishes of people of the affected areas.

Maharashtra says if language was the basis of reorganisation, all Marathi-speaking areas should have come to Maharashtra. A promise that the finer points of a broad division of linguistically contiguous areas would be worked out later didn’t materialise.

Now, it wants a comprehensive exercise going right down to the village level to ensure that not even a single Marathi-speaking village is left behind in Karnataka.

The inhabitants of the disputed area are being denied their fundamental right to live with dignity, without fear or oppression and the right to educate their children in their own language.

 Source: The Hindu

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