Land Dispute Of Maharashtra And Karnataka

Land Dispute Of Maharashtra And Karnataka

Author: Chaitrali Naik,  first year student at National Law University, Delhi.

7.7 million people in India are affected by conflict over 2.5 million hectares of land, threatening investment worth $200 billion. 25% of all cases decided by the Supreme Court involved land disputes. India faces a critical policy challenge in resolving land conflict as the average pendency date for land acquisition cases, from creation to Supreme Court resolution is 20 years.

About Land Dispute in general terms:

A land dispute is a disagreement over land rights and centers on a particular plot of land and is amenable to resolution within parameters of current legal system between two or more parties.  

About Land Dispute In Law:

In terms of law, “It is simply defined as a disagreement between two parties over the legal right of a particular piece of land. The legal rights include the title, possession, and control of land parcels under consideration.”

Different kinds of Land disputes are as follows:

●  Right to an Inheritance Dispute.

●  Partition Dispute.

●  Land Measuring Dispute.

●  Land Encroachment and Boundaries Dispute.

●  Right of Way Dispute.

●  Land Ownership Dispute.

Details about types of land disputes are as follows:

–      Inheritance Dispute: According to the Hindu law of Inheritance, a person/owner can deal with their self-acquired property as they wish, but there are some restrictions for ancestral property. In some cases, the law gives the birthright to ancestral property. So due to this dispute between the family are created.

–     Partition Dispute: This refers to a dispute about dividing the property of the family. Hindu Undivided Family as per the Hindu Law of Inheritance i.e. Hindu Succession Act 1956.

–        Land Measuring Dispute: This dispute is mostly seen between the 2 land owners about their land and land measurement.

–    Land Encroachment and Boundaries Dispute: Encroachment happens when someone traverses boundaries outlined in the survey, this violates the property right of the other property owner. Boundaries Disputes mean a dispute over the lands, or water bodies among two or more independent countries or states.

–   Right of Way Dispute: Right to pass over the land of another person uninterruptedly to enjoy one’s land.

–        Land Ownership Dispute: Conflicting claims to rights in the land by two or more parties.

At present there is 45% of the land conflict in India. According to the news article of TET(The Economic Times) roughly there are 800 cases related to land disputes. This type of land dispute is called the Land Encroachment and Boundaries Dispute. The Sino-Indian Border, the People’s Republic of China’s position, the Kashmir border, Sir Creek, and many more disputes are there that we still don’t know. So here I found the Land Dispute between the Maharashtra State and Karnataka State for the small city called Belagavi.

A small history of Belagavi:

Belagavi (Earlier it was called “Venugrama” or the “Bamboo Village”) it’s the oldest, strong, prominent, and most cultured historical place situated at high western ghats. It’s the old town area with cotton and silk weavers, beside the modern, bustling, tree-lined British Cantonment; addition to this there are various forts, temples, and churches to visit. Belagavi, influenced by the neighbouring states of Maharashtra and Goa, has incorporated its cultural essence into the local Kannada culture, resulting in a distinctive and rich heritage.

About the Belagavi Border Dispute:

Maharashtra and Karnataka over Belagavi is a decades-old dispute which is still going on in an Indian Court. Belagavi or Belgaum is currently part of Karnataka but was claimed by Maharashtra at the time of the British. The origin was in the reorganisation of states along linguistic lines via the State Reorganisation Act, of 1956. At the 2011 census, 68.40% of the population spoke Kannada, and 18.70% spoke Marathi.

History Of Case:

This dispute is so old that there were many resolutions planned, and the first was the “Four Member Committee”. Second was the “Mahajan Commission” and last was the “Maharashtra Ekikaran Committee.” But still this case hearing is going on in the Supreme Court.

●  Four Member Committee:

Memorandum from the Maharashtra Govt on 23 June 1957. In this committee, there were two representatives from the Maharashtra side and two representatives from Karnataka. Maharashtra has to adopt the following principles and hand them over to the Kannada majority village of Mysore (Now Karnataka). But it failed to reach an agreement.

The principles of the agreement were:

–        Residences wishes

–        Village unit

–        Marathi and Kannada-speaking population

–        Geographical integrity

●  Mahajan Commission:

Maharashtra Leader Pandurang Mahadev Bapat resorted to a hunger strike pressuring the government to focus on the border dispute between Maharashtra and Karnataka. Due to all this Govt of India, they constituted the Mahajan Commission, on 25 Oct 1966. This Commission was headed by the third Chief Justice Meher Chand Mahajan. On 9th Nov 1967, Maharashtra’s Chief Minister V.P. Naik announced that Maharashtra would adhere to the Mahajan Commission’s Report, regardless of the outcome. Mahajan Commission received 2240 memoranda and 7572 people were interviewed before submitting the report. Maharashtra asked for 814 villages besides Belagavi and Maysor (Today Karnataka) claimed 516 villages, of which Maharashtra admitted the 260 were Kannada-speaking ones. It was awarded to 247 villages including the claim to Solapur.

➢   Mahajan Commission Report Summary:

–        Belgaum should be at Karnataka

–        247 villages including Jatta, Akkalakote, and Sholapur part of Karnataka.

–  264 villages including Nandagad, Nippani, and Khanapur part of Maharashtra.

–        Kasaragod(of Kerala) is a part of Karnataka.

➢   Arguments By Maharashtra on this report:

–        Insisted on the census in 1951 to resolve the dispute that was created by the State Reorganisation Act, of 1956.

–        They stated that the commission has used the census of 1961 for the report.

– The Maharashtra Government rejected the report of the Mahajan Commission and stated that this report was illogical and against the people’s wishes.

●  Maharashtra Ekikaran Samiti:

– The committee integration with Maharashtra. MES is a linguistic socio-political committee based at Belgaum city in Karnataka.

–   Act as the party demanding the merger of Belagavi district in Karnataka with Maharashtra.

–        The committee was founded by Ex-MLA Manohar Kinekar in 1946.

–      The ideology of this committee was the merger of 862 villages of Karnataka with Maharashtra.

These three committees/Commissions hold the history of the land dispute between Maharashtra and Karnataka for the Belagavi District.

Latest Details of this border dispute:

●       In 2004, the petition was filed at the Supreme Court Of India staking claim over the Marathi Speaking villages in Karnataka.

●  This petition was a challenge to the State Reorganisation Act, of 1956 by the Maharashtra Government and claimed 865 villages and 5 districts of Karnataka merge with Maharashtra.

●  At that time Karnataka changed the name of Belgaum to Belagavi and made the 2nd capital of the state.

●  Karnataka cited Article 3 of the constitution, and Maharashtra cited Article 131 of the constitution.

●  Article 3 says, ”The Supreme Court does not have the jurisdiction to decide the borders of states, and only Parliament has the power.”

●  Article 131 says, “The Supreme Court has jurisdiction in cases related to disputes between the Union government and states.”

●  In 2010, the Centre said both Parliament and the Union Government had taken up all relevant factors while bringing the State Reorganisation Bill, of 1956, and the Bombay Reorganisation Bill, of 1960.

Recent New Article of Belagavi Dispute:

The Head Line from the newspaper MINT

“Maharashtra vs Karnataka: How the border row between 2 BJP-ruled states started?”

So here is a small review of this article as follows:

●  Content:

In a recent development, Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai claimed that villages in Maharashtra’s Sangli, facing a severe water crisis, expressed a desire to merge with Karnataka. Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis swiftly refuted these claims, vowing to fight in the Supreme Court to protect Marathi-speaking villages. The exchange escalated, with Bommai dismissing Fadnavis’s statement and Maharashtra’s Leader of Opposition condemning Bommai’s remarks. Shiv Sena President Uddhav Thackeray raised concerns about political dynamics and potential central government influence. Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde reassured that no land would be ceded, emphasising the government’s commitment to addressing Marathi-speaking people’s concerns in border areas 

●  Conclusion:

The exchange of statements between political leaders of Maharashtra and Karnataka reflects the deep-seated tensions surrounding the border dispute. As the dispute is in the Supreme Court, the need for diplomatic resolution and careful handling by both states becomes increasingly crucial to maintain peace and harmony in the region. The article highlights the political posturing, questions raised by leaders, and the overarching need for a sustainable solution that respects the rights and sentiments of the affected communities.


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