New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday allowed
Maharashtra government to include additional grounds in its
lawsuit over the boundary dispute with Karnataka filed in 2004
challenging the ceding of pre-dominantly Marathi-speaking
areas to its neighbour.
A Bench of Justices J M Panchal and A K Patnaik granted
four weeks to Maharashtra to amend its suit filed on March 29,
2004, in which it had challenged the inclusion of 865
Marathi-speaking villages in four districts of Belgaum,
Karwar, Gulbarga and Bidar to Karnataka.
The Court said Karnataka government will have to file its
response within eight weeks after the amended suit is filed.
Senior advocates Harish Salve and Vinod Bobde, appearing
for Maharashtra, submitted that some basic and settled
principles like wishes of the people and linguistic criteria
were not followed when these districts were ceded to
In the application filed through its advocate Shivaji
Jadhav for amending the lawsuit, Maharashtra submitted that
all theses factors were considered for demarcation of boundary
between Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh, Punjab and Haryana,
Maharashtra and Gujarat etc.
Senior advocate Fali Nariman, appearing for Karnataka
government, opposed the application for amending the
Maharashtra government had earlier contended that the
principle laid down for reorganisation of states under Article
3 of the Constitution has been violated.
The boundary dispute between the two states have been
pending in the Supreme Court for long with Karnataka demanding
Kannada-speaking area from Maharashtra and vice-versa.
Maharashtra has maintained there was a "hostile
discrimination" while settling its boundary dispute with
The governments of the two states have taken opposite
stands on the recommendations of the Mahajan Commission which
was constituted by the Centre to settle the dispute.
Maharashtra had earlier demanded the disputed areas be
given Union Territory status till the issue is decided by the
The Centre had recently told the apex court that Belgaum
district in Karnataka cannot be ceded to Maharashtra merely
because it has a large chunk of Marathi-speaking people.
In an affidavit filed before the apex court, the Centre
pointed out that reorganisation of states was carried out in
1956 and 1960 on the basis of various criteria and language
was only one of them and not the sole factor.
The Centre`s affidavit filed through the Director,
Ministry of Home Affairs, has urged the apex court to dismiss
Maharashtra`s claim on the ground that there was no
justification for the demand.
"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, i.e village, taluka, municipal area in a state.
"States Reorganisation Commission had a balanced approach
to the issue and was not arbitary. Both Parliament and the
union government had considered all the relevant factors while
considering the State Reorganisation Bill, 1956, and the
Bombay Reorganisation Bill, 1960, and decided the village,
taluka, municipal areas towns etc which are to be
included in the concerned states," the affidavit said.
The affidavit was filed in response to the apex court`s
notice to the Centre seeking its view on the dispute between
the two states over Maharashtra`s demand for inclusion of
Belgaum district since, according to it, a majority of the
locals are Marathi-speaking.
Karnataka had also opposed ceding of the district to