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A Case Study Of Inter State Disputes In Wake Of Contemporary Struggles

An armed conflict between the states of Assam and Mizoram broke out in August of 2021 over boundary disputes. There were even shots fired by police on both sides throughout the dispute. The Supreme Court recently heard arguments on the Mullaperiyar Dam dispute between Kerala and Tamilnadu. Numerous other disagreements occur between Indian states besides these two examples.

Without a discussion of the definition of the term "conflict" in a legal context, it is impossible to understand interstate disputes. Disputes are often characterised by disagreements between the parties. Furthermore, Black's Law Dictionary describes a dispute as "an assertion of a right... answered by counterclaims or allegations from the other party". A claim can only be the subject of a dispute if it is made by one party and disputed by the other on any number of grounds, as described by Indian Supreme Court Justice RS Bachawat.

In the event that one side makes a claim or assertion that the other party denies, a disagreement will result. It's a matter of competing legal interests or points of view. As a result, inter-state disputes are defined as a dispute between two or more states. In addition, it precludes issues between the Union and the State.

Even though there are numerous causes for an inter-state dispute, it is only natural that disagreements over issues of borders, languages, and water sharing arise among the various Indian constituent states. As a result, the Indian Constitution's framers had measures in place to deal with them.

Articles 131, 262, and 263 give the methods for this. The Supreme Court of the United States has sole and exclusive jurisdiction over disputes involving legal rights between two or more states, according to Article 131. Such conflicts must "contain any question (whether of law or fact) on which a legal right depends," according to Article 131. An interest recognised, protected and enforced by law is a 'legal right' in the Article, according to court interpretations.

As a result, it excludes interstate disputes of a political nature from its scope. In addition to the fact that Article 131 can be used in a variety of legal cases, one of its advantages is that it is not limited to specific types of conflicts. It is not limited to inter-state water conflicts like Article 262 is; Article 131 can be utilised to resolve any type of issue. Article 131, on the other hand, does not apply to cases that the Supreme Court has explicitly excluded from its jurisdiction. Article 131, for example, cannot be used to resolve a disagreement under Article 262.

Inter-state disputes over rivers and river valleys are the subject of Article 262. Water disputes between states were also addressed through legislation known as the "Inter-State Water Disputes Act, 1956.". The Central Government can set up a Water Dispute Tribunal under Section 4 of the Act to resolve disagreements. Three people make up the Tribunal: a Chairman and two alternates. As a final provision, Article 263 establishes an Inter-State Council to "inquire into and advise on conflicts that may have arisen between the States."

Also established in 1956, under Part III of the State Reorganization Law was the Zonal Councils. At the moment, there are five zonal councils: the Northern Zonal Council, the Central Council of the Zone, the Eastern Zonal Council, and the Western Zonal Council, the Council of Zone. The North Eastern Council for the Indian states of the North-Eastern region of the country is also in place to aid in the development of the region.

The North Eastern Council Act of 1971 gave rise to the creation of this body. Jawahar Lal Nehru established a National Integration Council in 1961 in the wake of the National Integration Conference, which was held in Delhi. However, there have been no meetings held under it in the recent eight years.

List of Inter-State Border Disputes:
States Concerned (Border Dispute:
  • Andhra Pradesh-Odisha
  • Haryana-Himachal Pradesh
  • Maharashtra-Karnataka
  • Assam-Arunachal Pradesh
  • Assam-Nagaland
  • Assam-Meghalaya
  • Assam-Mizoram

List of Inter-State Water Disputes:
Name of Tribunal Constitution Date of Tribunal States Concerned
Ravi & Beas Water Tribunal April, 1986 Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan
Krishna Water Disputes Tribunal -II 2nd April,  2004 Karnataka, Telengana, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra
Vansadhara Water Disputes Tribunal 24th February, 2010 Andhra Pradesh & Odisha
Mahadayi Water Disputes Tribunal 16th November, 2010 Goa, Karnataka and Maharashtra
Mahanadi Water Disputes Tribunal 12th March, 2018 Odisha and Chhattisgarh

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