JEYPORE: The Supreme Court has agreed to hear the original suit filed by Odisha government on disputed Kotia panchayat in Koraput’s Pottangi block. The State government had filed a contempt petition against officers of Andhra Pradesh government for not maintaining status quo in Kotia as directed by the apex court in 1968 and 2006. The AP government had held panchayat elections in February second week last year.
On Wednesday, an SC bench comprising Justice AM Khaniwalkar and Justice CT Rabi Kumar agreed to hear the original suit of Odisha first before taking up the contempt petition. The bench also observed that if any disturbance takes place in Kotia during the period, both Odisha and AP can approach the apex court.
In 1968, Odisha had filed a suit in the apex court stating that Kotia was an integral part of the State and AP was trying to capture the bordering panchayat. However, the SC had refused to hear the original suit under Article 131 of the Constitution.
Again in January 2022, the State government approached the court to hear the original suit under Article 131 of the Constitution. The Supreme Court’s decision on Wednesday has come as a relief for Odisha government. Arguing for Odisha, advocates Vikash Singh and Siba Sankar Mishra informed the court that the panchayat elections conducted by the State government in Kotia passed off smoothly this year. The voter turnout was 76.31 per cent. Government pleader, Koraput Bishnu Prasad Patra assisted during the hearing by placing all relevant documents, certified copies and maps of Kotia before the court.