Wednesday 13 September 2017

Gajalakshmi Paramasivam

13 September  2017

Same Sex Marriage Laws needed to  Prevent injustice in Courts

This week we Australians have the opportunity to inform our Government about our feelings and thoughts on Same Sex Marriage Laws. My vote on this would go towards influencing the outer form of this proposal. My feelings on this would go towards protecting Australians against Terrorism from those to whom such practices are ‘alien’ and indeed punishable by their local communities – as Divorce laws still are within the Tamil Hindu community and even in Courts in Colombo and Northern Sri Lanka. Below are some excerpts of my account of this painful experience due to second marriage, even though it is lawful marriage here in Australia. Mr. Yogendra is the other side lawyer in this matter:

[In that Mallakam Court – Mr. Yogendra became the Judge. When Mr. Yogendra stated about my second marriage – and that because of that I was not family – the Judge did not discipline nor did he ask the question as to its relevance to the case.  When I started giving evidence about my knowledge of what happened in the family in relation to inheritance matters – the Judge stated that it was ‘hearsay’……………………………..
The judge stated that what I was stating about the distribution of wealth that happened before my marriage was hearsay. I took it as our lawyer having contributed to it by stating that they needed ‘facts’.  The question he asked me was ‘Is this a matter regarding the Estate of your husband’s brother?’  I stated ‘It is my understanding that it is about the Administration of the Estate of my husband’s brother’  Then our lawyer stated that the Court needed facts and not my understanding. 
On 07 November 2013 in the Testamentary matter regarding the Estate of Mr. Subramaniam Yoganathan,  one of the final questions put to me in Court effectively  was ‘Why are you interfering  in this matter?’
I was in the witness box and as part of the oath I was required by the Court to speak the Truth and nothing but the Truth.  I therefore responded through my Truth to the above question – that I was doing it for Thesawalamai. (Customary Law of Northern Sri Lankans). Mr. Yogendra asked me also as to what I wanted to do with the money?  I said words to the effect that it was ‘family’ money and that to me it represented the investment by our family in the Laws of Thesawalamai. I said that my brother-in-law’s money wealth represented his high social and family status and that to me it was important that we carry this forward. I said focus on money alone would be an insult to my brother-in-law.  I said that my brother-in-law’s money wealth represented his high social and family status and that to me it was important that we carry this forward.
I said that my brother in law had inherited the father’s position status as head of the family and that now that my brother in law was physically no more – my husband was taking over.
Mr. Yogendra asked me also as to what I wanted to do with the money? 
As I picked up my file I said to our lawyer ‘I am really disappointed with you.’ At that moment Mr. Yogendra who was standing next to our lawyer – at the head of the bar-table also looked in my direction – and I said to him in Tamil
  / ‘I am not a prostitute’. So saying, I  walked towards the Public end of the Court. Then I heard our first lawyer Mr. Nadarajah say to me that I was being summoned. I turned around and walked back to the  witness box and removed my shoes. But I did not get on to the box because no one asked me to.  Then the Judge asked me in a stern voice ‘/ What is this place?’  I was confused. I was wondering whether the Judge was referring to me not being accepted as  a Ceylon Tamil???  I did say instead of
 in Tamil, when giving evidence.  My mother spoke Indian Tamil as she was born and brought up in Burma.  I was wondering whether I was showing signs of my mother through my Indian Tamil for the word Yes.  is Indian for Yes. 
 is Ceylon Tamil.

All this was running fast in my mind when the Judge said ‘
(This is Court house – Don’t you know that you should not show street behavior here in Court? You claim to be educated and sought Administrative authority. But now  through your conduct you have proven that you do not deserve that.  It’s not good enough to say in words. More importantly your conduct must confirm your claim) 
I looked blankly at the Judge for the first part of the above outburst by the Judge. Then the penny dropped – that somehow the Judge had got knowledge of my statement to Mr. Yogendra. It’s often mind reading.
So – on top of being effectively labeled as a prostitute and a cheat – I was now being accused of street behavior. I just stared at the Judge.  The woman in me broke down and cried – silently inside. It really was too much at this point for that soft woman within. 
………..he said I was shamelessly going after other people’s money. I took defamation action in Australia against the Petitioners and their allies – but the Supreme Court of New South Wales ruled that whilst it would have been hurtful, the Court did not consider it to be defamatory. I sought leave to appeal the decision but was denied leave.  ]

Through such experiences  I learnt that I had practiced good institutional order above the Courts. I learnt also that those who are less committed to the letter of the law but are true to themselves would be more damaged than I under similar circumstances. Anyone who shares her/his Truth adds positive value to the whole they feel a part of.

If same sex marriages have contributed strongly to good order in family and community – adding the protection of law would protect unjust losses to this minority group. This move confirms also that our Equal Opportunity Laws have not been strong enough and hence this affirmative action. It is highly likely that majority Australians of Indian-Subcontinent origin are not likely to identify with this need. I did not get direct community support in the above. But I believe that support is needed by those within our community who seek to be natural and free rather than be unnatural in this regard towards enjoying high status in the community. We had the ethnic war and its excesses on both sides due to our Truth being more and more irrelevant to the Courts and their laws through which they measured rights and wrongs before they were allowed to go outside and beyond our control.

I believe also that there is a connection between the abuse of power by religious leaders and the fear of enjoyment within the boundaries of law.  By elevating the dignity of same sex partnerships we would be making amends in many ways to those who have inherited such fears. The total elevation should not be more than that needed to say ‘sorry’ and bring the two groups to zero advantage level. This applies also to rebels who are comfortable with one culture only but have migrated to Australia for economic reasons.

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