Special petitions brought against ITAK & TNA

Saturday, 1 October 2016 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

By S.S. Selvanayagam

When the special application against the Ilankai Tamil Arasu Kadchi (ITAK) and the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) was brought up before the Supreme Court this week, the Counsel for the petitioner submitted that the procedure for the application was not specified in the Constitution and asked with the Court to decide what action should be taken.

The Bench comprised Justices Eva Wanasundera, Upaly Abeyrathne and K.T. Chitrasiri.

The counsel in his submission further said that as the procedure was not specified in the Constitution, there was no rule in the Supreme Court Rule and requested the court to suggest the necessary action.

The Court fixed the matter for 21 November.

The Supreme Court on 26 June had re-fixed for support on 26 September the granting of leave to proceed with five petitions filed against ITAK and the TNA on the personal grounds of counsel for the petitioners.

Altogether five petitions are filed against the ITAK and TNA seeking declarations from the Court that their aim is the establishment of a separate state within 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 Mavai S. Senathirajah, who is the Secretary of ITAK as well as the General Secretary of the TNA, TNA President R. Sampanthan and Elections Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya as respondents. Kanishka Vitharana appeared for the first petitioner. Palitha Gamage appeared for the second petitioner. Kalinga Gamage appeared for the other three petitioners. K. Kanag Iswaran PC with M.A. Sumanthiran, Viran Corea, Luxman Jeyakumar and Niran Anketell instructed by Moahan Balendra appeared for Mavai Senathirajah and R. Sampanthan. Senior State Counsel Dr. Avanti Perera appeared for the Attorney General

The petitioners stated that the TNA’s election manifesto contains several statements that express the objective of establishing a separate state within Sri Lanka. The TNA is an alliance of several constituent recognised political parties and the TNA itself is not a recognised political party and therefore the TNA is contesting under the name of ITAK and its “House Symbol” at the Northern Provincial Elections, they stated. The ITAK gave nominations to contest as a political party to the Northern Provincial Council Elections for five districts where 714,488 voters eligible to cast their vote to elect 36 members to the council from 56 contestants, they stated. The TNA in its manifesto firmly believes that sovereignty lies with the people and that it is not the Government in Colombo which holds the right to govern the Tamil people but the people themselves, the petitioners say. They also say that 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. The petitioners contend that promoting any deviation from or attacking the very structure of the unitary state of the 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.