SC appoints mediators to resolve NE border dispute

The Supreme Court on Friday appointed a two-member mediation team to examine the border dispute between Assam and Nagaland.

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday appointed
a two-member mediation team to examine the border dispute
between Assam and Nagaland but rejected the plea for for
recusal of Justice Tarun Chatterjee from being the chairperson
of the "Local Commission" constituted to resolve the row.

The apex court said the mediators comprising senior
advocates Sriram Panchu and Nirjan Bhat would submit its
interim report to the court by December 6 and asked the Chief
Secretaries of Assam and Nagaland to assist the team in
hammering out an amicable solution.
The first meeting of the team would be convened in Delhi
on September 18 by the Union Home Ministry and the second
meeting shall be held within four weeks thereafter, the apex
court said in its order.

A Bench of Justices Markandeya Katju and T S Thakur,
however, rejected an application moved by Assam`s Advocate
General K N Balagopal seeking recusal of Justice Tarun
Chatterjee(retd) from being chairperson of the "Local

"Let us give a try to the mediation efforts. There have
been number of Tribunals and Commissions on various issues but
they have not solved the problems. The Tribunal passed an
order in favour of Karnataka in the Cauvery dispute but there
were protests in Tamil Nadu," the Bench observed.

The apex court passed the order while dealing with
Assam`s application seeking Justice Chatterjee`s recusal as
chairperson of the Local Commission constituted earlier.

Advocate General Balagopal told the apex court that
judicial prorpriety demanded that Justice Chatterjee should
recuse himself as he was part of the Bench which had on
September 25, 2006, constituted the Commission with Justice S
N Variava, a retired judge, as chairperson. The appointment,
he said, was made on the basis of names suggested by then
Attorney General.

The counsel pointed out that Justice Variava
subsequently expressed "personal difficulties" and withdrew
from the Commission by a communication dated December 26,
2009. He said that thereafter the apex court passed an order
appointing Justice Chatterjee as chairperson of the
According to counsel "judicial propriety required"
that a judge, who was part of the Bench which constituted the
Commission, should not himself become the chairperson.

However, the Bench said the state should have raised the
objection on January 12, 2010, when the order appointing
Justice Chatterjee was made. Hence, it dismissed the

Justice Chatterjee was recently in the news after the
CBI gave him a clean chit in the UP Government`s multi-crore
PF scam.