New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday came down heavily on the Centre saying that it cannot remain a "mute spectator" to the 50-year-old border dispute between Assam and Nagaland.
"You (Centre) are the one who is supposed to act and resolve it. You have done nothing in terms of our earlier order. You cannot remain a mute spectator to the border dispute," a bench headed by Justice T S Thakur said.
Outlining the questions relating to the dispute, it said, "There are two issues. One is what is the border? Another is what should be the border? We can decide the first issue. Second one can be decided by experts. Alteration of border is a political issue."
The bench, also comprising justices Adarsh Kumar Goel and R Banumathi, is hearing the original suit filed by Assam under a provision of the Constitution nearly 26 years ago.
During the hearing, the Centre informed the court that the Union Home Minister recently held a meeting with the chief ministers of Assam and Nagaland to resolve the border dispute.
"Though you have informed that the meeting has taken place, you have not filed the response. You have not told us as to whether the Surveyor General of India can do it or can the satellite imagery help in this," it said and asked the Centre to file a response within 10 days.
Assam and Nagaland share a 434-km 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 has been decided on December 1, 1963 when Nagaland was created.