Belgaum, Gulbarga part of Karnataka: Centre

Union govt asks SC to dismiss Mrashtra plea

The Centre’s reply was to Maharashtra’s 2004 affidavit and its application in 2009 claiming jurisdiction over 814 villages in Belgaum, Karwar, Bidar and Gulbarga districts in Karnataka that reportedly had majority Marathi-speaking people.  “The transfer of certain areas to then Mysore (now Karnataka) was neither arbitrary nor wrong,’’ as claimed by Maharashtra,” Dr Praveen Kumari Singh, director of Ministry of Home Affairs, said in the Centre’s reply.

“It is submitted that the language of the people has been one of the criteria, but not the sole criterion for inclusion of any area in a state,” the Centre’s counter said.  “Both Parliament and the Union government had looked into all relevant factors while considering the State Reorganisation Bill, 1956, and the Bombay Reorganisation Bill,
1960,’’ it added.

According to the Union government, Maharashtra’s petition should be dismissed and exemplary cost should be imposed for filing such a suit. The state of erstwhile Mysore was joined with parts of Bombay, Hyderabad, Madras and Coorg to form Karnataka five decades ago under the States Reorganisation Act, 1956.

During this process, certain Marathi-speaking areas were also merged into it, which later became a cause of dispute between Maharashtra and Karnataka. Maharashtra in a petition filed in 2004, claimed its jurisdiction over the 814 villages of the border districts.

According to Maharashtra  government, the merger “was done by the Union Government of India in spite of strong protests and agitations by the people of the Marathi-speaking regions, which were earlier with states of Bombay and Hyderabad.”

The state again filed an application in February 2009, blaming the Jawaharlal Nehru regime for the “unconstitutional steps”, which led to the merger of the areas into Karnataka.

‘Flawed’

Maharashtra’s Congress-led government also felt certain sections of the States Reorganisation Act, 1956, and that of the Bombay Reorganisation Act, 1960, under which the merger was done, were Constitutionally flawed.

The premise underlying Article 3 of the Constitution is linguistic and cultural homogeneity and the wishes of the people of the area being reorganised.  Though these principles were accepted by the States Reorganisation Commission, they were not applied in the case of the Marathi-speaking areas in Karnataka.

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