NEW DELHI/ BHUBANESWAR: The Supreme Court on Friday issued notice to Andhra Pradesh government over the plea filed by Odisha government on the Kotia panchayat and sought initiation of contempt of court proceedings against Andhra Pradesh for violation of status quo agreed upon by the two states more than 50 years ago.
A bench headed by Justice AM Khanwilkar asked Andhra Pradesh government to file its response but did not stay the panchayat polls for now. Senior advocate Vikas Singh told the bench that the elections should be stayed but the bench slated the hearing for February 19. The panchayat elections in Andhra Pradesh is going to held on February 13 and 17.
Both Andhra Pradesh and Odisha have been claiming their rights over Kotia panchayat which comprises 28 villages. In the notification for the polls, Andhra Pradesh has included Talaganjeipadar, Phatuseneri and Phagunaseneri villages under its Salur block.
According to the petition, Odisha government has stated that the Supreme Court had, in 1968, ordered maintenance of status quo in the disputed area and in 2006 the status quo was ordered on the undertaking given by both states while disposing of the suit.
The plea states that villages have been under the control of the local administration of Odisha and that Odisha government has undertaken several infrastructure initiatives in those villages. The petition also states that while issuing notification for local body election in Vizianagaram district last year, the Andhra government clandestinely roped in three villages from Kotia and has included them in the district with new names.
Meanwhile, writing to his Vizianagaram counterpart M Hari Jawaharlal, Koraput Collector Md Abdaal Akhtar has requested him to consider the sub-judice nature of the matter and desist from going ahead with any plan to allegedly conduct elections in Kotia under Pottangi block.