SC to consider state's plea on Belagavi border row

SC to consider state's plea  on Belagavi border row
The Supreme Court on Monday agreed to consider a plea by Karnataka against the maintainability of an original suit filed by Maharashtra making claims on 865 villages in Belagavi district. A three-judge bench, presided over by Justice Dipak Misra, put an application filed by Karnataka for detailed hearing on March 10 after the state, represented by senior advocate P P Rao, contended that the reorganisation of a state cannot be questioned under Article 131 (original suit) of the Constitution as the power to resettle boundaries has been vested exclusively in Parliament under Article 3.

“Article 3 of the Constitution gives complete power to Parliament. States can't question the formation of states and the views of the states concerned are not biding on Parliament,” Rao submitted. Senior advocates Harish Salve and Raju Ramachandran, appearing for Maharashtra, submitted that there was no bar on states to contend that the law passed by the Union government was bad.

The bench questioned if such a challenge could be made after 48 years since the suit by Maharashtra was filed in 2004. During the hearing, the bench, also comprising Justices R Banumathi and Ashok Bhushan, asked, “If two states are in dispute with regard to their boundaries, can there be bar (on court) put by the legislature for not deciding it under Article 131 of the Constitution?”

Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar, appearing for the Union government, submitted that the extent and existence of legal rights of the states under Article 131 of the Constitution have to be examined. “The power conferred on the states under Article 131 of the Constitution is limited and subject to restrictions,” he contended, defending the 1956 Act.

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