12 September 2020
Who Governs Jaffna?
[Friday 23 November 2007 – judgment day in matter Gaja Lakshmi Paramasivam (GLP) v University of New South Wales (UNSW), at the full bench of Australian Federal Court of Appeal.
I walked into room 21A – a majestic-looking room. At the computer below the Judge’s chair was a young man. There was no one else in the room. I bowed to the Judge’s chair and seated myself. I thought of Lawyer Todd Golding (from the Office of the New South Wales Crown Solicitor) who asked me earlier in the year as to why I was bowing when there was no judge in the chair. I said ‘I am bowing to the god of Justice’. I felt that Justice was part of me. I felt that Justice came with me everywhere I went. Hence in a way I was bowing to the god of Justice inside me. By manifesting my respect for THAT Judge, I believe I was placing there – the power / energy to develop a position fit for such a Judge and if there was already one within the system – for that Judge also to receive my royalties / respects. This meant that we were sharing each other’s Energies. By doing that without the other side seeing me or even knowing I was doing that – I was also invoking the Judge equal and opposite to the litigant through whose position I was in that Court. ] Truth is the Witness ; Law is the Judge - Chapter 1 - Naan Australian
That god of Justice came yesterday, when I was writing the article ‘Is University of Jaffna Independent of the Government?’ which was about Dr Kumaravadivel Guruparan of the University of Jaffna, claiming to his ‘home group ’ that he was entitled to practice law in courts. Even though I did not touch on it in yesterday’s article – I was hurt by the repeated expressions of demotion by Dr Guruparan of the Public Service – that they were merely marking their attendance whereas them Academics worked without time limitations. I was hurt because I felt it was aimed at me as well. I worked in NSW Public Service and here is an excerpt from my cv in this regard :
[Ms Colleen Moore – then Director NSW Government Advertising Agency & Information Service was my mentor in relation to Public Service culture and protocols. I believe that the pathway through which we receive, send and share information and intelligence is more comfortably structured when we learn from our seniors. There are parts of Public Service that continue to be subjective and by respecting the higher wisdom particular to Public Service structures already in place – I was able to merge and integrate with existing structures. In turn I shared my Private Sector wisdom with my seniors in Public Service – the value of which is confirmed as follows by my Seniors:
“Her input in ensuring the viability of these two business units of government which operate as commercial businesses within a government framework was a great asset.” - Ms Colleen Moore – Director NSW Government Advertising Agency & Information Service]
I worked also with University of NSW where I earned the following certificate:
[“Ms Paramasivam quickly engendered the confidence and support of many of the administrative officers and academic leadership in this Faculty. She was always sensitive to their situations in matters related to administration and management of finances. She always indicated a preference to deliver strong client service by regularly visiting the Schools and affiliated organizations. She demonstrated patience in working with them to help them understand the rationale behind new systems and approaches to managing finances. In her dealings with centralized agencies in the organization she was always forthright and determined in her quest to improve service and improve systems used to support resource management in the faculty. She achieved remarkable success in a short period of time with the University. “- Professor Bruce Dowton, then Dean of Medicine – University of New South Wales
Both references highlight the challenges within Public institutions where they have ‘Ape Aanduwa’ / Our Government’ mentality which often leads to unjust discrimination, due to attachment to the physical which leads to separation. As per my direct experience with the University of Jaffna as well as with Jaffna Public Service their administrative standards are not very different to each other’s – to warrant one taking credit over another. An Academic may be clever in discovering new theories. But presenting them to share with wider world requires a firm and reliable Administrative structure within the University which cleans the work of plagiarism, and facilitates attribution to elders. If indeed Dr Guruparan was such an Academic, we would have had the privilege of a structured support or Opposition to the proposed 20th Amendment to the Sri Lankan Constitution. That would have been of value to his students at the University some of whom will practice law in Colombo also and one day may become Minister for Justice.
As if to reward me for my contribution, I received an email from the Judicial Services Commission of Sri Lanka regarding our application on the basis of Right to Information Act. That application was against the Registrar of Mallakam District Court which court kept denying us the Certificate of Heirship in addition to dismissing our objection to Equal share by all siblings – including those who received dowry. This as per our interpretation was in breach of the law of Thesawalamai applicable to Jaffna Tamils. As is my way – I wrote the book ‘Jaffna is my Heritage and not dowry’ which to my mind would have negated the Judicial verdict’s Energy. That to my mind is the right example of Academic Freedom. My husband continued to pursue his rights and hence the RTI application. That was made in January this year. When the response came at the time I focused on the conflict of interest between Judiciary and University – and felt the pain caused by the demotion of Public Service the god of Justice manifested through the Judicial Services Commission (JSC) which is part of the Public Service. To my mind that is how the system of Natural Justice works.
This manifestation confirmed to me yet again that we the educated generation of Jaffna Tamils who felt Sri Lanka through Experience, continue to be in charge of Jaffna governance. This is the second time the JSC delivered for us when Jaffna Judicial system strongly influenced by the rebel intelligence of separation – failed. The first time was when we complained about the delay in delivery of the decision by Mallakam District Court. Later – the appeal records confirmed that the JSC had intervened.
I don’t know about others. I am common Sri Lankan and thus far Colombo has delivered for me more than ‘Jaffna-only’ Administration and Judiciary. This wholesome heritage is what I share with my heirs. Jaffna-only proponents would need to go deeper and deeper until they live in the Jaffna Kingdom time and have the experience as virtual reality. By the time they come back to surface – the Present would be a stranger to them.
Words and/or knowledge alone will not empower them or their heirs. This morning, we have copied our response to the JSC to Mr Visvalingam Manivannan who represented us in the Jaffna Court of Appeal but abandoned us. But he also publicly criticises the current Jaffna Public Administration – for example - jobs for the boys attitude. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hJJlgJzClxs&t=62s
When one ‘avoids’ the opportunity to work – as Mr Manivannan did after he received his fees which was at a higher rate than by Colombo counsels in our Colombo Land case – one confirms lack of Energy to ‘generate’ job opportunities. Mr Manivannan credited Mr GG Ponnambalam in this regard and I do identify with that. The reason to my mind is the lesser credit Mr GG Ponnambalam received relative to his Sinhalese counterparts for the Common work. Mr Manivannan who is in the Tamil National People's Front (TNPF) headed by Mr Gajendrakumar Ponnambalam lacks that investment in commonness. All these young Tamil lawyers including Dr Guruparan are in that boys’ club and they infect each other continuously with their surface knowledge only.
Judgment in our Colombo case () was delivered on 13 July 2020 after 20 years. That was because of my belief in Public Administration and Colombo Lawyers Mr Harsha Fernando and Mr Revan Weerasinghe who to my mind are common Sri Lankans. There was not enough commonness laterally or vertically in the current law professionals in Jaffna – to deliver just outcome in Jaffna.
As opposed to Commonness through lateral path – they need to go deep into the era of the elders they invoke and first inherit their mind structure. Then they would naturally develop their own heirs who are self-governing. They and only they govern Jaffna.