The Supreme Court announced that the next hearing will take place on February 19. (File photo)

New Delhi:

The Supreme Court today issued notice to the Andhra Pradesh government on a petition seeking contempt action against its state officials for notifying Panchayat polls in three villages controlled by Odisha.

The Odisha government, while moving the petition in the Supreme Court on Thursday, had said the notification amounts to “invading” its territory.

The Naveen Patnaik government, while seeking urgent listing of their contempt plea, had cited that the officials of the southern state were “wilfully violating” the status quo passed by the court in the original suit. It also sought punishment for them for having committed contempt of this court.

Andhra Pradesh, meanwhile, had argued that the elections had been held in these villages earlier also.

The top court has asked the Andhra Pradesh government to go through the petition and file its reply. The case will be taken up on February 19.

The top court had on December 2, 1968 directed both the states to maintain status quo till the disposal of 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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The suit filed by Odisha under Article 131 of the Constitution was finally dismissed on technical ground by the top court on March 30, 2006. The top court, however, had then directed that status quo be maintained till the dispute is resolved.

The Odisha government, in its latest plea, has sought contempt action against Andhra Pradesh’s three senior officials — Mude Hari Jawaharlal (contemnor-1), collector of Vizinagaram district; Adityanath Das, Chief Secretary of AP (contemnor-2), and N Ramesh Kumar, State Election Commissioner of Andhra Pradesh (contemnor-3).

The dispute over territorial jurisdiction over 21 villages popularly called as “Kotia Group of villages” is a long pending border dispute between the two states with both claiming rights over the villages.

With inputs from PTI

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