Mahajan Commission Report

The Mahajan Commission pertains to the border dispute over the region of Belgaum between the states of Maharashtra and Karnataka. Belgaum is presently a part of Karnataka. During the British India, it was a part of Bombay Presidency.

What is the dispute?

In the year 1948, the municipality of Belgaum requested that the district, with the predominantly Marathi-speaking population, to be incorporated into the proposed Maharashtra state. However, the States Reorganisation Act of 1956 had included Belgaum and 10 talukas of Bombay State a part of the then Mysore State now Karnataka. Mysore was renamed to Karnataka in 1973. The Act divided states on the basis of linguistic and administrative lines. Because of this dispute, the government constituted the Mahajan Committee.

Key Points related to Mahajan Committee

  • Initially the Government of India constituted Mahajan Committee on 5 June 1960, but failed to reach an agreement.
  • Again, in the year 1966, the Government of India appointed a 3 member commission headed the then Chief Justice of India Mehr Chand Mahajan. Hence the commission was known as Mahajan Commission.
  • The commission’s Report recommended for exchange of many villages in Belgaum district between the two states. The commission recommended that 264 villages should be transferred to Maharashtra and Belgaum and 247 villages should remain with Karnataka. The report rejected Maharashtra's claim on Belgaum city.

States Reorganisation Act 1956

States Reorganisation Act 1956 is an act that reformed the Indian states and territories on the linguistic lines.

Recent developments in the matter

The Maharashtra government still claims over 814 villages along the border, as well as Belgaum city, which is currently a part of state of Karnataka. There is a pending case in the Supreme Court related to the matter. In the year 2004, the Maharashtra state government moved the Supreme Court for the settlement of the border dispute under Article 131(b) of the Constitution. Maharashtra state is currently demanding that 814 villages from Karnataka should be made a part of Maharashtra on the basis of the theory of village being the unit of calculation, contiguity and identifying linguistic population in each village.