General Studies Paper 2

Context: Recently, the border dispute  between Assam and Arunachal Pradesh, which was going on since 1972 has been resolved permanently.

  • Assam and Arunachal Pradesh share an 804-km long boundary.

What are the Major Highlights of the Agreement?

  • The agreement is expected to settle the dispute relating to 123 villages covering over 700 kilometres of the border between the two states,taking into account historical perspective, demographic profile, administrative convenience, proximity to the border, and aspirations of the residents.
    • This will be final agreement neither of states will make any new claim in future relating to any area or village
  • A detailed survey will be conducted by the Survey of India  in the presence of representatives from both state governments to determine the boundaries after the agreement.

What are the Other Border Disputes Between States in India?

  • Karnataka-Maharashtra:
    • The border dispute over Belagavi, Karwar and Nipani in North Karnataka is long-standing. When state boundaries were redrawn on linguistic lines as per the States Reorganisation Act of 1956, Belagavi became part of the erstwhile Mysore state.
      • The Act was based on the findings of the Justice Fazal Ali Commission which was appointed in 1953 and submitted its report two years later.
      • Maharashtra claims that parts of Belagavi,where Marathi is the dominant language, should remain in Maharashtra.
    • In October 1966, the Centre set up the Mahajan Commission to resolve the border dispute in Maharashtra, Karnataka and Kerala.
      • The Commission recommended that Belgaum and 247 villages remain with Karnataka. Maharashtra rejected the report, and in 2004, moved the Supreme Court.
    • Assam-Mizoram:
      • The border dispute between Assam and Mizoram is a legacy of two British-era notifications of 1875 and 1933, when Mizoram was called Lushai Hills, a district in Assam.
        • The 1875 notification differentiated Lushai Hills from the plains of Cachar and the other demarcated boundary between Lushai Hills and Manipur.
      • While Mizoram became a state only in 1987following years of insurgency, it still insists on the boundary decided in 1875.
        • Assam, on the other hand, wants the boundary demarcated in 1986 (based on the 1933 notification).
      • Haryana-Himachal Pradesh:
        • The Parwanoo region has had the spotlight over the border dispute between the two states.
        • It is next to the Panchkula district of Haryanaand the state has claimed parts of the land in Himachal Pradesh as its own.
      • Himachal Pradesh-Ladakh:
        • Himachal and Ladakh lay claim to Sarchu, an area on the route betweenLeh and Manali.
        • It is considered a major point where travellers stop when travelling between the two cities.
          • Sarchu is in between Himachal’s Lahul and Spiti district and Leh district in Ladakh.
        • Meghalaya-Assam:
          • The problem between Assam and Meghalaya started when the latter challenged the North-Eastern Areas (Reorganisation) Act, 1971, which gave Blocks I and II of the Mikir Hills or present-day Karbi Anglong district to Assam.
          • Meghalaya contends that both these blocks formed part of the erstwhile United Khasi and Jaintia Hills district when it was notified in 1835.
        • Assam-Nagaland:
          • It began soon after Nagaland became a state in 1963.
          • The Nagaland State Act of 1962 had defined the state’s borders according to a 1925 notification when Naga Hills and Tuensang Area (NHTA) were integrated into a new administrative unit.
          • Nagaland, however, does not accept the boundary delineation and has demanded that the new state should also have all Naga-dominated areas in North Cachar and Nagaon districts. S
          • Tensions between Assam and Nagaland flared up soon after the latter was formed, resulting in the first border clashes in 1965.
            • This was followed by major clashes between the two states along the border in 1968, 1979, 1985, 2007 and 2014.

What are the Other Methods of Resolution of Border Disputes in India?

  • Through Exclusive Original Jurisdiction of SC:
    • The Supreme Court has exclusive original jurisdiction as per Article 131 of the Constitution of India, which means no other court can hear these cases:
      • It can hear disputes between the Government of India and one or more States.
      • It can hear disputes between the Government of India and any State(s) on one side, and one or more other State(s) on the other.
      • It can hear disputes between two or more States if the dispute involves a question of law or fact on which the existence or extent of a legal right depends.
    • Limitations on Jurisdiction:The Supreme Court’s jurisdiction does not extend to disputes arising out of treaties, agreements, covenants, engagements, or similar instruments entered into before the commencement of the Constitution and continuing in operation, or if the instrument provides that the jurisdiction shall not extend to such disputes.
  • Through Inter-State Council:
    • Article 263of the Constitution empowers the President to establish an Inter-state Council   if it appears that the public interests would be served by such a Council.
    • It serves as a forum for discussion and resolution of disputes between states, as well as for investigating and discussing subjects of common interest among states or between the Union and one or more states.
    • In 1990, the Inter-state Council was established through a Presidential Order.
      • In 2021, the Council was reconstituted.


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