The Supreme Court today took a strong note to the submission seeking adjournment of hearing in a 27-year-old lawsuit filed by Assam in its decades-long border dispute with Nagaland.
“The issue is of demarcation of boundary and this is going on for last 30 years… We make it clear that no further adjournment will be granted to defendant (Nagaland) for examining the witnesses,” a bench of justices T S Thakur and R Banumathi said.
The bench then adjourned the hearing in the 1988 civil suit till September 7 on the plea of newly-appointed advocate general of Nagaland that he needed time to go through the paper book of the case.
Recently, Supreme Court Registrar (Judicial) Rachna Gupta, in pursuance of court’s order, conducted the proceedings in which both the states have either “admitted or denied” the documents produced by them in support of their claims and counter claims.
Earlier, the court had said that the border dispute between Assam and Nagaland could be resolved either by deciding the law suit or by referring it for arbitration.
The court had then asked the counsel for Assam, which had filed the suit in 1988 seeking relief including demarcation of its over 500-km-long border with Nagaland, to file the list of its witnesses along with their testimonies in the form of affidavits with the apex court registrar within three months.
Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar, appearing for the Centre, had referred to a report of the Surveyor General of India (SGI) and said the Assam-Nagaland border cannot be demarcated as the SGI maps have not been authenticated on the ground by both the state governments.
Assam and Nagaland share boundary and the border dispute dates back to 1963 when Nagaland was carved out of Assam’s Naga Hills district.
Nagaland has been demanding some portions that it believes “historically” belong to it and seeks “restoration” of all Naga territories.
However, the Assam government wants to maintain the boundary which had been decided on December 1, 1963 when Nagaland was created.