Thursday 26 September 2019

Gajalakshmi Paramasivam

26 September  2019

Northern Tamil Heritage

The law is not usually practised directly by senior officers. Good management requires us to merge our truth with the expectations of the law.  That is how we customize the law to suit the needs of our institution. Without this merger – much of the law is likely to remain theory. The real law of the institution is developed by the truth of the members of the institution from its very inception.
The University of Visual and Performing Arts, Colombo whose Vice Chancellor was recently dismissed by the president for example was engaged in education from as early as 1893.  Similarly – the origins of the University of Jaffna date as early as 1921 – when Parameswara College was founded by Sir Ponnambalam Ramanathan who was one of the first Ceylonese to be appointed King’s Counsel. All that wisdom in law would also be part of the Founding Energy of the University. But none of the recent Vice Chancellors have demonstrated connection to this wisdom. The young lawyers within the University also seem to be disconnected with this heritage. Once we discipline ourselves through the oldest member of the family, institution – no one else has the moral authority to punish us. The system of truth brings us the support when we need it.

The above applies also to the nation. Hon D S Senanayake - the first Prime Minister of post-colonial Ceylon –described Sir Ramanathan as "the greatest Ceylonese of all times". I believe that if at least one person who sought to be Vice Chancellor had respected Sir Ponnambalam Ramanathan – s/he would have inherited his law genes and protected the University from becoming what it is today – a political football field.

Section 34 (9) of the Universities Act No. 16 of 1978  for example provides as follows:
If any vacancy occurs in the office of Vice-Chancellor –
the Deputy Vice-Chancellor, if any, shall perform the duties of the office of Vice-Chancellor, or
where there is no Deputy Vice-Chancellor, the Commission shall, within seven days of the occurrence of such vacancy, make such arrangements as it may think fit for carrying on the duties of the office,

On 08 May 2019, the Daily News reported under the heading ‘New Jaffna University VC appointed’ :

[The new Jaffna University Vice-Chancellor Prof. K Kandasamy will assume duties shortly after President Maithripala Sirisena called for the suspension of Vice-Chancellor Prof. Ratnam Vigneswaran on Tuesday (7).
According to a source, Prof. Kandasamy who was a part of the university’s Physics Department, will serve for three months and have authorization for all the matters related to the university. The letter of his appointment was notified to the university yesterday (7). The reasons for the suspension Prof. Ratnam Vigneswaran is still unknown. He was appointed Vice-Chancellor in 2017]
This is in breach of Section 34(9) of the Universities Act No. 16 of 1978 .
While it is understood that Professor Vigneswaran is suing the Chairman of the University Grants Commission – the question arises as to what Professor Vigneswaran himself did to raise the issue at Council level.  Was there a Deputy Vice Chancellor who could have taken-over from Professor Vigneswaran as per Section 34(9) of the Universities Act? If ‘no’ why not?
These are ways in which the University would have become autonomous within the law. One who felt ownership in the University would have identified with this provision. How can Northern Sri Lankans claim to have the right to self-determination when they continue to depend on what is ‘given’ by Central Administration? The University of Jaffna is the best institution through which Tamils could confirm such right. Every true discovery would provide that inner intelligence to govern oneself.

It is also not clear whether Professor Vigneswaran has exercised his rights under Section 34(10) which provides as follows:

[A Vice-Chancellor who, resigns or is removed from office under subsection (1) or in any other way ceases to hold office as Vice-Chancellor, unless re-appointed, may, if he was a member of the staff of a Higher Educational Institution on the day prior to the date of his appointment as Vice-Chancellor, revert to his substantive post in the staff of such Institution provided he has not completed his sixty-fifth year.]

Mr CV Wigneswaran who is reported to be a relative of Sir Ponnambalam Ramanathan – seems to have gone into ‘hiding’ in this regard. Not enough belief in ancestors and the profession that raised his status?

Every completed experience by us strengthens our own karma. Our karma is our ultimate reality. When we invoke through our Belief – the positive karma of others – our own karma would become more positive.  This would distance us from rights that contribute to negative karma and take us close to wrongs and failures that are awarded by those who carry negative karma that are really positive for us – as in two negatives making a positive. Hence the saying ‘Failures are the Pillars of Success’.

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