BHUBANESWAR: The Supreme Court on Friday served a notice to the Andhra Pradesh government to file its response on a writ petition filed by the Odisha government seeking initiation of contempt of court proceedings against the neighbouring state for violation of status quo in the disputed Kotia region of Koraput district.
The apex court also fixed the next hearing in the matter on February 19, reports from Delhi said.
The Odisha government had on February 9 filed the petition in the Supreme Court challenging the decision of the Andhra Pradesh State Election Commission to hold panchayat polls in the disputed Kotia cluster of villages that comes under the jurisdiction of Odisha’s Koraput district.
The Odisha government in its petition had mentioned that the Supreme Court in 1968 had ordered the maintenance of status quo in the disputed area. In its final hearing in 2006, the apex court had also upheld its earlier judgment while disposing of the suit.
The plea further stated that the move to hold elections in Kotia villages will amount to contempt of court as it violates the status quo undertaking given to the Court.
The state government had also prayed before the apex court for speedy hearing in connection with the issue as the neighbouring State had scheduled to hold the rural polls in the three villages of Kotia between February 13 and 17.
Kotia region which consists of 27 small tribal hamlets has been a bone of contention between Andhra Pradesh and Odisha since a long time and both the states have been claiming sovereign rights over the area.
The Odisha government has pointed out that Andhra Pradesh took the unilateral decision on holding panchayat polls even as the border dispute involving Kotia is sub-judice.
Andhra Pradesh is holding panchayat elections in three of the 27 villages-Talaganjeipadar, Phatuseneri and Phagunaseneri of Kotia on February 13 and 17. The neighbouring state has listed these three villages of Odisha’s Koraput district under Salur Mandal in Vizianagaram.