Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Will you hand over Bombay?- The unedited version

Even as the border dispute between Karnataka and Maharashtra hots up, the former is all set to file its reply before the Supreme Court of India. Sources in the Karnataka legal team who are working on the reply have already begun drafting the same and say that language is just one way of determining the reorganization of states per se.

There has been a long standing border dispute between the two states. While Karnataka holds on to Belgaum claiming it to be theirs’, Maharashtra on the other hand says that since a large part of the population is Marathi speaking, this part of Karnataka should be handed over to them. This dispute has once again been making headlines and there have been violent protests and Maharashtra has even withdrawn their bus service to this part of Karnataka fearing trouble.

The legal fraternity representing Karnataka however state clearly that this issue is clearly a case of political question doctrine and since the matter is such the courts should stay away. The tone in which Maharashtra speaks is clearly invalid and they cannot fight the case on the ground that this region should belong to them just because of the language factor. Karnataka also states that just because a large part of the population in Mumbai speaks in Bihari, Bihar cannot stake a claim over this city and ask it to be a union territory or make it a part of Bihar. The case of Belgaum is similar, they claim.

Karnataka also relies heavily on the stance of the Union Government which stated that language is just one of the factors to determine the reorganization of a state, but also adds that this is not the whole and sole factor.

Further the reply also goes on to state that there are a lot of people in the Belgaum region who are bi-lingual and therefore it is just a fact that if a person speaks in one language it does not mean that he or she has a right to live in a state that has the dominant language. In other words, the Marathi speaking public of Belgaum cannot say that they should be given the right to live in Maharashtra, since Marathi is the dominant language over there. Karnataka however goes on to add that the people are entitled to speak in any language that they want, but no other state has the right to shove down a language on a person’s throat and insist that he or she is part of the state that speaks the dominant language.

Karnataka also states that this is a matter which is well settled and Maharashtra cannot make the claim when it even amends its plea in which it goes on to state that the government of India is obliged to be a Parens Patriach and should act fairly.

The reply will be filed once Maharashtra amends its plea and that is likely to happen in another three weeks time, sources also pointed out.

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