Mahajan Commission Report on Maha-K’taka boundary dispute


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Mahajan Commission

Mains level : Federal issues in India

A Maharashtra leader has sparked a controversy, when he called the incorporation of Belgaum (Belagavi), Karwar and Nipani areas of Karnataka into Maharashtra, as a dream of the ruling party.

Try answering this

Q.The linguistic re-organization of India in the post-Independence period has prevented its balkanization, unlike our neighbourhood. Comment.

Maha-K’taka boundary dispute

  • The erstwhile Bombay Presidency, a multilingual province, included the present-day Karnataka districts of Vijayapura, Belagavi, Dharwad and Uttara-Kannada.
  • In 1948, the Belgaum municipality requested that the district, having a predominantly Marathi-speaking population, be incorporated into the proposed Maharashtra state.
  • However, the States Reorganization Act of 1956, which divided states into linguistic and administrative lines, made Belgaum and 10 taluka of Bombay State a part of the then Mysore State

The Mahajan Commission

  • While demarcating borders, the Reorganization of States Commission sought to include talukas with a Kannada-speaking population of more than 50 per cent in Mysore.
  • Opponents of the region’s inclusion in Mysore argued, and continue to argue, that Marathi-speakers outnumbered Kannadigas who lived there in 1956.
  • In September 1957, the Bombay government echoed their demand and lodged a protest with the Centre, leading to the formation of the Commission under former CJI Mehr Chand Mahajan in October 1966.

Beginning of the dispute

  • The Commission recommended that 264 villages be transferred to Maharashtra (which formed in 1960) and that Belgaum and 247 villages remain with Karnataka.
  • Maharashtra rejected the report, calling it biased and illogical, and demanded another review.
  • Karnataka welcomed the report and has ever since continued to press for implementation, although this has not been formally done by the Centre.

A case pending in the Supreme Court

  • Successive governments in Maharashtra have demanded their inclusion within the state– a claim that Karnataka contests.
  • In 2004, the Maharashtra government moved the Supreme Court for a settlement of the border dispute under Article 131(b) of the Constitution.
  • It demanded 814 villages from Karnataka on the basis of the theory of village being the unit of calculation, contiguity and enumerating linguistic population in each village.
  • The case is pending in the apex court.

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