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What authority do state governments possess to modify village boundaries or merge them, or establish new ones?

In Karnataka, the authority to modify village boundaries or merge them, or establish new ones lies with the State government. This authority is derived from the Karnataka Panchayat Raj Act, 1993, which outlines the powers and functions of the state government in relation to rural local bodies, including village panchayats.

Section 2(22) of the Karnataka Panchayat Raj Act, 1993 defines a village as “a local area or a group of contiguous local areas in a district predominantly inhabited by persons who are engaged in agriculture, including cultivation of land, and allied activities, including production and sale of agricultural produce.” The Act further provides for the creation, alteration, or merger of villages by the state government, subject to certain conditions.

Under Section 3(3) of the Act, the state government may, by notification in the official gazette, declare any local area or group of contiguous local areas to be a village for the purposes of the Act. Similarly, under Section 3(4), the state government may alter the limits of any village or merge two or more villages into one, again by notification in the official gazette.

However, the Act places certain conditions and limitations on the state government’s powers to create, alter, or merge villages. For instance, Section 3(5) requires that the state government consult with the concerned gram panchayats (village councils) and the district panchayat before making any such changes to village boundaries. The Act also requires that the state government conduct a survey and prepare a report on the proposed changes, and invite objections and suggestions from the public before finalizing any changes.

In addition, the Act requires that any changes to village boundaries or merger of villages must not result in a reduction in the number of seats reserved for scheduled castes and scheduled tribes in the gram panchayat. The Act also mandates that the new village, after the merger, should have a population of not less than 2,000 and a minimum area of not less than five square kilometers.

It is worth noting that the state government’s powers to alter village boundaries or merge them, or establish new villages, are subject to judicial review. Any decision taken by the state government in this regard may be challenged in a court of law if it is found to be arbitrary, discriminatory, or in violation of any provisions of the Constitution or any other law.

the state government of Karnataka has the authority to modify village boundaries or merge them, or establish new ones, subject to certain conditions and limitations prescribed by the Karnataka Panchayat Raj Act, 1993. The state government must consult with the concerned gram panchayats and conduct a survey before making any changes, and any such changes are subject to judicial review.

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