1972 constitution reminds Tamils not to backtrack idea of nationhood

The 1972 republican constitution of Sri Lanka, which for the first time constitutionalised a unitary Sinhala-Buddhist state, was enacted without the participation or mandate of Eezham Tamils. Not only their political opposition was brushed aside but even the judiciary also played a game against legal challenges. The constitution forced the shift in Tamil polity from federal to the idea of right to self-determination of the nation for independence, pointed out Jaffna University Law Lecturer, Guruparan Kumaravadivel on Tuesday, citing legal cases involving the republic. “You don’t have to go further and look for anyone else than Murugesu Thiruchelvam’s argument in the Amirthalingam trial-at-bar as to why our politics should be done on the idea of Tamil nationhood and self-determination,” Guruparan said addressing especially to the people in the TNA.

Citing the Amirthalingam trial-at-bar, involving the 1972 constitution, in which 64 lawyers argued for Mr. A. Amirthalingam who was tried under Emergency Regulations by the Sri Lankan state, Guruparan said that it was none other than Murugesu Thiruchelvam, Dr. Neelan Thiruchelvam’s father, who actually took up the argument that the 1972 constitution was invalid or could not be applied to Tamils.

Thiruchelvam “very convincingly argued before the trial-at-bar that Tamils constitute a separate nation and their mandate at 1970 elections was different and that the 1972 constitution does not bear the stamp of legitimacy from the Tamil people.” Guruparan said.

Guruparan’s citation of M. Thiruchelvam to alert the TNA was of much significance, political observers commented to TamilNet.

While the main current of democratically mandated Tamil polity compelled by realities in the island was taking a righteous course, the USA and the West obsessed with saving the Colombo-centric state were always bringing in a line of proxies not elected by Tamils to deviate the course, political observers cited the example of the line of AJ Wilson, Neelan Thiruchelvam, Lakshman Kadirgamar and now MA Sumanthiran.

By deliberately ignoring democratic and righteous voices of Tamils and by always highlighting the deliberations of the proxies as the ‘moderate’ course acceptable to the international community, the USA and the West have contributed largely to the frustration in democracy and the rise of militancy among Tamils in the past. They should not continue with the mistake, Tamil political observers said.

A section of the political observers didn’t fail to point out how a proxy line working even within the LTTE deviated the liberation struggle from the basics of the right to self-determination at Oslo.

Guruparan in his address was also citing the legal battles waged by C. Suntharalingam in the courts in the island against the 1972 constitution and pointed out how the courts played a game by first telling that they could not take up the case until the constitution is declared and thereafter telling that they could not act as they were bound by the constitution.

Suntharalingam’s argument was that the 1972 Constitutional Assembly was an illegal body and that they could not enact a constitution, as they had not followed the procedure in the 1947 constitution in terms of enacting a new constitution.

There was yet another side of the legal battles in which the Privy Council that had some responsibility and Britain that was the root cause for the evil of the unitary state in the island, also have failed the Eezham Tamils, political observers in the island commented.

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