SC seeks Andhra Pradesh’s reply on Odisha’s contempt plea

New Delhi, Feb 12 (PTI):
The Supreme Court on Friday asked Andhra Pradesh to file its response on a plea filed by Odisha seeking contempt action against senior officials of the southern state, for notifying panchayat polls in three ‘disputed area’ villages of the petitioner state.
A bench of Justices AM Khanwilkar and Aniruddha Bose said it will not pass any order Friday and would like to consider the reply of Andhra Pradesh on February 19.
During the brief hearing, senior advocate Vikas Singh and advocate Sibu Shankar Mishra, appearing for Odisha, said AP is conducting the panchayat elections in the disputed area controlled by it.
The bench asked Advocate Mahfooz A Nazki, standing counsel for Andhra Pradesh, to file the state’s response on the plea of Odisha.
The bench granted liberty to the counsel for Odisha to serve an advance copy of the petition to the counsel for AP and listed the matter for further hearing on next Friday.
More than five decades since the first status quo order on the territorial jurisdiction dispute with AP over 21 villages, Odisha has moved the top court once again seeking contempt action against officials of the southern state for notifying panchayat polls in three of its villages.
The Naveen Patnaik government has said the notification amounts to invading Odisha’s territory. The dispute over territorial jurisdiction over 21 villages popularly called as Kotia Group of villages first reached the top court in 1968 when Odisha on the basis of three notifications — issued on December 1, 1920, October 8, 1923 and October 15, 1927 — claimed that Andhra Pradesh had trespassed into its well-defined territory.
During the pendency of the suit filed by Odisha, the top court had on December 2, 1968 directed both the states to maintain status quo till the disposal of the suit and said, there shall be no further ingress or egress on the territories in dispute, on the part of either party.

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