HM Shah chalks out Maha-K’taka border dispute resolution plan

Over the last few weeks, tensions rose in the border areas of Maharashtra’s Pune and Karnataka’s Belagavi as activists attacked trucks and buses in both states.

Mumbai  | Updated: 15 December, 2022 4:00 pm IST
Union home minister Amit Shah with chief ministers of Maharashtra and Karnataka in New Delhi on Wednesday evening.

Karnataka and Maharashtra have agreed not to press their claims on disputed border regions till the Supreme Court delivers its verdict on the decades-long dispute, said Union home minister Amit Shah after holding a meeting with top leaders of both states.

At a meeting held with Maharashtra CM Eknath Shinde, his deputy Devendra Fadnavis, Karnataka chief minister Basavaraj Bommai and state home minister Araga Jnanendra in New Delhi, both states decided to set up a committee of six ministers – three from each state – to discuss matters related to the border dispute and find a solution.

Over the last few weeks, tensions rose in the border areas of Maharashtra’s Pune and Karnataka’s Belagavi as activists attacked trucks and buses in both states.

Addressing media persons after the meeting, Shah said, “Both chief ministers have responded affirmatively and agreed to find a solution by constitutional means, not through street fights. Both states have agreed not to stake claim or make any demands till the Supreme Court verdict is out in the matter.”

“Three ministers from each state will sit together and discuss the matter in depth. There are some other issues between the two states. These problems will also be solved by these six ministers,” the home minister said.

He also told reporters that a committee led by a senior IPS officer will be formed to maintain law and order and to ensure that no businessman or passenger is harassed in the border areas.

Shah blamed fake social media accounts for spreading misinformation and rumours to rake up sentiments. “The people who opened these fake social media accounts will be booked and exposed,” he said.

Requesting opposition leaders in both BJP-ruled states, Shah said, “I am sure Congress, Nationalist Congress Party and Uddhav Thackeray’s group will cooperate and not give political colour to this issue.”

The dispute gained fresh lease of life when Maharashtra CM Eknath Shinde deputed two ministers to solve the issue through legal and political means, promoting a war of words between senior leaders of both states.

Maharashtra demands 865 villages from five Karnataka districts to be merged with it. Maharashtra has pressed its claim on Belagavi, Karvar and Nipani.

Karnataka-Maharashtra border dispute

The raging dispute has its roots in the State Reorganisation Act, 1956, which aimed at reorganizing the states along linguistic lines. Maharashtra has for long been laying claim on Marathi-speaking areas of the neighbouring state, a demand rejected by Karnataka.

In 2004, the Maharashtra government filed a plea in the Supreme Court challenging the State Reorganisation Act, 1956. However, Karnataka contends that only parliament can decide the state borders, and not the Supreme Court – citing Article 3 of the Constitution.

On the other hand, Maharashtra cites Article 131 and claims the apex court has jurisdiction in cases of disputes in which the Union government and the states are involved. In 2010, the Centre said both parliament and the Union government had taken up all relevant factors while bringing the State Reorganisation Bill, 1956, and the Bombay Reorganisation Bill, 1960.

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