Andhra Pradesh government gets Supreme Court notice for announcing polls in Odisha villages

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The Supreme Court today issued notice to the Andhra Pradesh government on a petition seeking contempt action against its state officials for notifying Panchayat polls in three “disputed area” villages controlled by Odisha.

The Odisha government, while moving the petition in the Supreme Court on Thursday, had said the notification amounts to “invading” its territory.

The Naveen Patnaik government, while seeking an urgent listing of their contempt plea, had cited that the officials of the southern state were “wilfully violating” the status quo passed by the court in the original suit. It also sought punishment for them for having committed contempt of this court.

Andhra Pradesh government, meanwhile, had argued that the elections had been held in these villages earlier also.

A bench of Justices AM Khanwilkar and Aniruddha Bose said it will not pass any order on Friday and would like to consider the reply of Andhra Pradesh on February 19.

The top court had on December 2, 1968, directed both the states to maintain the status quo till the disposal of suit and said, “There shall be no further ingress or egress on the territories in dispute, on the part of either party.”

The suit filed by Odisha under Article 131 of the Constitution was finally dismissed on the technical ground by the top court on March 30, 2006. The top court, however, had then directed that the status quo be maintained till the dispute is resolved.

The Odisha government, in its latest plea, has sought contempt action against Andhra Pradesh’s three senior officials – Mude Hari Jawaharlal (contemnor-1)), collector of Vizianagaram district; Adityanath Das, Chief Secretary of AAP (contemnor-2), and N Ramesh Kumar, State Election Commissioner of Andhra Pradesh ( contemnor-3).

The dispute over territorial jurisdiction over 21 villages popularly called as “Kotia Group of villages” is a long-pending border dispute between the two states with both claiming rights over the villages.

 

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