Koraput: The Supreme Court observed Friday that proceedings in a contempt petition filed by Odisha government against Andhra Pradesh would continue if both states fail to resolve amicably the border dispute related to territorial jurisdiction of 21 villages in Kotia panchayat.
A two-judge bench of the apex court comprising Justices AM Khanwilkar and CT Ravikumar adjourned the matter till the first week of January after senior advocate Vikas Singh, appearing for the Odisha government, apprised the court that the states have agreed to constitute committees for amicable resolution of the dispute.
“Since the state authorities are interacting atthe highest level to amicably resolve the matter, we post the matter for hearing in the first week of January,” the bench said.
During the hearing, the counsel appearing for Andhra Pradesh argued that the contempt proceedings can be closed since the meeting between Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and his Andhra Pradesh counterpart YS Jagan Mohan Reddy took place in a very cordial atmosphere.
He pleaded that the looming spectre of contempt can be avoided with liberty to Odisha to approach again.
The bench, however, refused. “The contempt action has to be taken forward, what is the difficulty. If settlement does not happen, the contempt has to proceed. There is clear direction of maintaining status quo. If that is breached, that is the grievance. We have to deal with it if you are not able to resolve,” the bench observed.
Earlier, the apex court had asked both Odisha and Andhra Pradesh governments to look for a political resolution of the border dispute.
Significantly, after the meeting November 9 between Patnaik and Reddy, the Odisha government has constituted a panel headed by Chief Secretary SC Mahapatra to deliberate on various bilateral issues including the Kotia boundary dispute.
It should be stated that Odisha, in the contempt petition filed through advocate Sibashankar Mishra, submitted that Andhra Pradesh wilfully and deliberately violated the Supreme Court order dated December 2, 1968 and the judgment dated March 30, 2006 by transgressing into Odisha’s territory.
The apex court in its order of 1968 and 2006 judgment had asked both the states to maintain status quo on the boundary dispute with regard to Kotia group of villages.
Odisha contended in the petition that Andhra Pradesh issued notification March 5 last year to conduct local body elections in Vizianagaram district.
“Salur is one of the Mandals where the panchayat election was notified to be conducted on the scheduled date. In the notification, the Andhra Pradesh government deliberately roped in three villages from the ‘Kotia Group of Villages’ falling under Koraput district of Orissa into Salur Mandal of Vizianagaram district,” Odisha stated in the petition.
Odisha also contended that Andhra Pradesh had changed the names of three villages of Kotia panchayat. The names of Ganjaipadar, Phattusenary and Phagusenary were changed to Ganjaibadra, Pattuchennum and Phaguluchennuru respectively.
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