Kotia hearing in SC tomorrow: Will it go Odisha way or Andhra way?

Bhubaneswar: The much awaited Supreme Court hearing in the controversial Kotia issue involving the state governments of Odisha and Andhra Pradesh is scheduled to take place tomorrow.

However, a reply submitted in the apex court by Vizianagaram Collector M. Hari Jawaharlal has seemingly shifted the balance in the favour of Andhra Pradesh.

The Collector in his reply said the three concerned villages– Ganjaybadra, Pattuchennuru and Paguluchennuru– fall under Araku Parliamentary Constituency and Saluru Assembly Constituency of Andhra Pradesh. He further said that Lok Sabha and Assembly elections have been conducted by Andhra Pradesh in the villages since 1952 while Panchayat Polls by the AP government were held in the villages in 2006 and 2013.

“Elections have consistently been held to Lok Sabha and the State Assembly in the aforesaid villages since the year 1952. So far as the local body elections are concerned, the State of Andhra Pradesh has conducted local body elections in these three villages since inception of Panchayat Raj Act. The Answering Respondent herein submits that even in the years of 2006 and 2013, elections were held to the Panchayats,” the Collector mentioned in the reply.

“It is most respectfully submitted that the Petitioner appears to be raising a substantive dispute in respect of these villages in the guise of a Contempt Petition. This Hon’ble Court has already, vide 2006 Judgment, categorically ruled that this Hon’ble Court does not have jurisdiction to entertain such matters. The Petition is therefore grossly misconceived,” he said.

The Collector has prayed the Supreme Court to dismiss Odisha’s petition.

Notably, the border dispute between Odisha and Andhra Pradesh emerged as the latter included the three villages under its Saluru block and announced panchayat polls.

The Odisha Government then moved the Supreme Court seeking contempt of court proceedings against Andhra Pradesh, mentioning in its petition that the apex court in 1968 had ordered to maintain status quo in the disputed area of Kotia.

The Supreme Court had asked the Andhra Pradesh government to respond to the plea by the Odisha government.

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