The Odisha government today informed the Supreme Court that it has conducted local body elections for the area where there is territorial jurisdiction dispute over some villages with Andhra Pradesh.

The Odisha government, which has filed a plea in the Apex Court seeking contempt action against some senior officials of Andhra Pradesh for notifying panchayat polls in three disputed area' villages, said they have also filed a suit in the apex court challenging the Constitutional validity of Article 131 proviso which was inserted in 1956.

Article 131 of the Constitution deals with original jurisdiction of the Apex Court in any dispute between the states or between the Centre and one or more states.

More than five decades since the first status quo order on the territorial jurisdiction dispute with Andhra Pradesh over 21 villages, Odisha has moved the top court seeking contempt action against some officials of the southern state claiming the notification amounts to invading its territory.

Senior Advocate Vikas Singh, appearing for Odisha, on Wednesday told a bench of Justice A M Khanwilkar and Justice C T Ravikumar that the state has held election in the disputed area.

There is one good thing state of Odisha could hold the elections for the disputed area, Singh told the bench.

He suggested that the Apex Court can continue the status quo as of today and dispose of the matter.

Singh told the Bench about the suit filed by the state and said both the matters may be heard together.

We will hear it after the decision in that case, the Bench observed.

The Apex Court said it would give liberty to the parties to get the matter preponed if there is change in situation.

The counsel appearing for Andhra Pradesh said he has no objection to this.

Hearing on this application is deferred. However, liberty is given to the parties to mention this matter in the event of changed situation, if any, the Bench said.

The Apex Court was in November last year informed that Chief Ministers of Odisha and Andhra Pradesh had agreed to constitute a committee to look into the controversy related to territorial jurisdiction dispute over 21 villages.

The dispute over 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.

The suit filed by Odisha under Article 131 of the Constitution was finally dismissed on technical grounds by the top court on March 30, 2006, and with the consent of both the states it directed that status quo be maintained till the dispute is resolved.

The petitioner state of Odisha is invoking the contempt jurisdiction of this court against the alleged contemnor for having wilfully and deliberately violated the order dated December 2, 1968 and the judgement dated March 30, 2006 passed by this court in original suit filed by Orissa and Andhra Pradesh, the plea said.

The Odisha government further claimed that administratively and otherwise, it has been in control of these villages but of late clandestinely the contemnors have entered into the impugned act of contempt by which the order of this court has been violated.

The Andhra Pradesh government had told the Apex Court that there was no breach of its direction and it has been duly administrating its own territories and did not infringe upon the neighbouring Odisha's area.

Seeking dismissal of the contempt plea filed by Odisha, the Andhra government has said in its affidavit that Odisha is seeking to achieve indirectly what it failed to achieve directly as the apex court in its 2006 judgement dismissed the suit filed by Odisha on the ground that it was not maintainable under Article 131 of the Constitution.

"It is submitted that Andhra Pradesh has not taken any step in violation of any agreement/ direction. Andhra Pradesh has been duly administrating its own territories and has not infringed upon the territory of the petitioner," it said.

With PTI inputs