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FeaturesNewsSri Lanka:Petition against ITAK, the electoral vehicle of the Tamil National Alliance filed in Supreme Court

Sri Lanka:Petition against ITAK, the electoral vehicle of the Tamil National Alliance filed in Supreme Court

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TNA talking to press at HRC 25 (© s.deshapriya)
A petition was filed in the Supreme Court yesterday, challenging the constitutionality of the Ilankai Tamil Arusu Kachchi (ITAK), the electoral vehicle of the Tamil National Alliance, under the controversial 6th Amendment to the Constitution of Sri Lanka.
The petitioner prayed Court to declare that ITAK is a political party, which has the establishment of a separate state, within the territory of Sri Lanka, as one of its aims and objects.
The 6th Amendment to the Constitution passed by the J.R. Jayewardene administration, resulted in the vacation of Parliament seats by the Tamil United Liberation Front, which was until then the de facto Opposition in the then Parliament.

Petitioner H.K. Don Chandrasena, of G16 National Housing Scheme, Polhena in Kelaniya, filed the petition through Attorney-at-Law, Madhubashani Rajapaksa, in terms of Article
157A (4) of the Constitution of Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. The Article 157 A (4) of the Constitution states that ” Where any political party or other association or organisation has as one of its aims or objects the establishment of a separate state, within the territory of Sri Lanka, any person may make an application to the Supreme Court for a declaration that such political party or other association or organisation has as one of its aims or objects the establishment of a separate State within the territory of Sri Lanka. The Secretary or other officer of such political party or other association or organisation shall be made a respondent to such application.”

The Article 157 A (1 ) also prohibits any person from directly or indirectly, in or outside Sri Lanka, supporting, espousing, promoting, financing, encouraging or advocating the establishment of a separate State within the territory of Sri Lanka.
 

Article 157 (2) states: No political party or other association or organisation shall have as one of its aims or objects the establishment of a separate state within the territory of Sri Lanka.

Mavai S. Senadhiraja, Secretary ITAK, Mahinda Deshapriya, Commissioner of Elections, and the Attorney General are cited as the respondents by the petitioner.
The petitioner stated that he is entitled to petition the Supreme Court regarding the matter as it falls within the purview of the Sixth Amendment. The petitioner also stated that the Sixth Amendment to the Constitution has allowed any citizen to make an application to the Supreme Court, citing any political party secretary, association or organisation which has as one of its objectives, the establishment of a separate state within the territory of Sri Lanka as respondents.
ITAK, which is duly registered under the Election Law, is a political party whose aims and objects includes the establishment of a separate state within the territory of Sri Lanka, the petitioner stated.
The petitioner stated that the ITAK Party Constitution, which was submitted to the Election Commissioner’s Office dated 20-5-1981, has stated that the objective of the ITAK is to establish political economic and cultural liberation among Tamil people by way of forming autonomous Tamil government and autonomous Muslim government as a part of a United Con-federation of Federal Sri Lanka in accordance with principles of self determination.
 
Therefore, the petitioner has requested the Court to issue notice on the respondents and issue a declaration that the ITAK is a political party which has among its aims and objectives, the establishment of separate state. The petitioner has also sought that the Court subjects the leaders of the ITAK to the provisions of Article Five of the Sixth Amendment.

By Stanley Samarasinghe
Ceylon Today

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