Odisha files contempt against Andhra officials for “invading” its territory; SC to hear petition today

  • The Naveen Patnaik government moved the Supreme Court on Wednesday, accusing Andhra Pradesh of “invading” into its territory.
Supreme Court of India(PTI)
Supreme Court of India(PTI)
Updated on Feb 12, 2021 02:05 AM IST
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ByAbraham Thomas, New Delhi

The Odisha government has approached the Supreme Court seeking contempt action against officials of the Andhra Pradesh government for notifying Panchayat polls in three villages controlled by it and allegedly violating a status quo ordered by the SC in 1968 on three villages claimed as their territory by the two states.

The Naveen Patnaik government moved the Supreme Court on Wednesday, accusing Andhra Pradesh of “invading” into its territory.

The elections were notified by the collector of Andhra Pradesh’s Vizianagaram Mude Hari Jawaharlal on March 5, 2020.

“In the notification deliberately the contemnors roped in three villages from the ‘Kotia Group of villages’ falling under the territory of Koraput district of Odisha into Salur Mandal of Vizinagaram district (AP). Clandestinely the contemnors changed the name of the three villages of Kotia Gram Panchayat,” the Odisha government has alleged.

“Tactfully the contemnors converted these three villages of one Gram Panchayat falling under territory of Odisha to three different Gram Panchayats. The three Gram Panchayat created by the contemnor were made part of Salur Mandal,” it said.

The dispute over the territorial jurisdiction of 21 districts, popularly known as Kotia Group of villages, first reached the Supreme Court in 1968, when the Odisha government accused the Andhra Pradesh government of trespassing its territory.

The Odisha government relied on three past notifications which were treated as “instruments” while filing the suit. During the pendency of suit filed by Odisha, the top court had on December 2, 1968 directed both the states to maintain 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 technical ground by the top court on March 30, 2006, and with the consent of both the states it directed that status quo be maintained till the dispute is resolved.

On Thursday, senior advocate Vikas Singh appearing for Odisha told before an SC bench, headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) SA Bobde, “There is a huge constitutional crisis as the state of Andhra Pradesh is acting in violation of the Supreme Court order by conducting an election in our territory. We are requesting for listing of the contempt petition.”

“The said notification issued by contemnor 1 (Muda Hari Jawaharlal) in unison with contemnors 2 and 3 (Chief Secretary and SEC) is to invade into the territory of petitioner state at the cost of willful violation of this Court’s order… Administratively and otherwise, the state of Odisha has been in control of these villages throughout. However, of late, clandestinely the contemnors have entered into the impugned act of contempt by which this Court’s order has been violated,” the contempt petition said.

Odisha government has said that the three villages falling in Koraput have been shown as part of Salur Panchayat mandal of Vizianagaram by changing their original names from Ganjaipader, Phattusenary, and Phagusenary to Ganjaibadra, Pattuchennuru and Phaguluchennuru, respectively.

The bench has listed the matter before a bench headed by Justice AM Khanwilkar on Friday.

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Tuesday, November 30, 2021