By S. S. Selvanayagam
The Supreme Court this week fixed to be mentioned on 6 September the Special Petitions filed against the Ilankai Tamil Arasu Kadchi (ITAK) and Tamil National Alliance (TNA).
The Bench comprised Justices B. P. Aluvihara, Priyantha Jayawardane and Anil Gooneratne.
Altogether, five petitions are filed against the ITAK and TNA seeking declarations from the Court that the aim and/or object of the ITAK, also known as the Federal Party, as well as the organisation and/or association TNA is the establishment of a separate state within the territory of Sri Lanka.
The petitioners are Patriotic National Movement President Dr. Gunadasa Suriarachchi Amarasekara, Patriotic Buddhist Front Secretary Ven. Bengamuwa Nalaka Thero, Swarna Hansa Foundation President Punyawardena Alwis, Buddha Maha Sanvithanaya (Buddhist Way Organisation) President Sathischandra Dharmasiri and Jaffna Buddhist Association President Arulnesaratnam Ravikamar.
The petitioners cited Secretary of ITAK and General Secretary of TNA Mavai S. Senathirajah, TNA President R. Sampanthan and Elections Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya as respondents.
Kanishka Vitharana appeared for the first petitioner, while Palitha Gamage appeared for the second petitioner. Kalinga Gamage appeared for the other three petitioners. K. KanagIswaran PC, with M. A. Sumanthiran, Viran Corea, Luxman Jeyakumar and Niran Anketell, instructed by Moahan Balendra, appeared for Mavai Senathirajah and R. Sampanthan. Deputy Solicitor General Nerin Pulle appeared for the Attorney General.
The petitioners stated that the TNA in its election manifesto made several statements that were indicative of and with the expressed or implied objective of establishing a separate state within the territory of Sri Lanka.
The TNA is an alliance of several constituent recognised political parties. The alliance itself is not a recognised political party and is, therefore, contesting under the name of ITAK and its ‘House’ symbol at the Northern Provincial elections, the petitioners said.
The ITAK gave nominations to contest as a political party in the Northern Provincial Council elections for five districts where 714,488 voters were eligible to cast their vote to elect 36 members to the said Council from among 56 contestants.
The TNA in its manifesto, , the petitioners further said, firmly believes that sovereignty lies with the people and that it is not the Government in Colombo that holds the right to govern the Tamil people, but the people themselves.
The TNA maintains that in this regard, the 13th Amendment to the Constitution of Sri Lanka is flawed in that power is concentrated at the Centre and its agent, the Governor.
It contends that promoting any deviation from and/or attacking the very structure of the Unitary State of Government and the inalienable sovereignty of the State shall be deemed to be a violation of Article 157 of the Constitution and also amounting to an act of working with the objective of creating a separate State.