M. A. Sumanthiran
M. A. Sumanthiran
ம. ஆ. சுமந்திரன்
|Member of the Sri Lankan Parliament
for National List
9 February 1964 |
|Political party||Illankai Tamil Arasu Kachchi|
|Tamil National Alliance|
|Alma mater||Monash University|
|Ethnicity||Sri Lankan Tamil|
Mathiaparanan Abraham Sumanthiran (Tamil: மதியாபரணம் ஆபிரகாம் சுமந்திரன்; born 9 February 1964; commonly known as M. A. Sumanthiran) is a prominent Sri Lankan Tamil human rights lawyer, politician and Member of Parliament.
Sumanthiran was born on 9 February 1964 at the Church of South India's McLeod Hospital in Inuvil in northern Ceylon. His family are from the Vadamarachchi region of the Jaffna peninsula - his father is from Karaveddy and his mother is from Kudathanai. Both of his grandfathers were teachers in Vadamarachchi. Sumanthiran grew up in Colombo and was educated at Royal College, Colombo. After school he joined the University of Madras, graduating with a B.Sc. degree in physics. He then proceeded to Sri Lanka Law College, qualifying as an advocate.
Sumanthiran was called to the bar in 1991. He then started practising law in Colombo, appearing in civil litigation cases in the supreme court, court of appeal, commercial high court and district courts. His successful cases include the privatisation of Sri Lanka Insurance Corporation, privatisation of Lanka Marine Services and the closure of Pramuka Bank. He has appeared in a number of fundamental rights cases and judicial reviews of parliamentary legislation and executive action including the charging of levy for water and establishing a revenue authority. He prevented the forced expulsion of Tamils from Colombo and successfully challenged an anti-conversion bill which the courts struck down as being unconstitutional. He has also appeared for petitioners against the proposed 18th and 19th amendments to the constitution which were found to be unconstitutional and required two-thirds majority in Parliament and a referendum. He has worked on a number of public interest cases including the ongoing attempt by residents of the Valikamam North High Security Zone to get their land back from the Sri Lankan military. His human rights work has led to him being threatened and being branded "traitors in black coats" by the Sri Lankan military.
Sumanthiran was appointed as the Tamil National Alliance's (TNA) National List MP in the Sri Lankan Parliament following the 2010 parliamentary election. In May 2012 he was elected Illankai Tamil Arasu Kachchi's (ITAK) Secretary for Foreign and Legal Affairs. He became one of ITAK's two Assistant Secretaries in September 2014. Sumanthiran is one of a trio of MPs (the other two being R. Sampanthan and Mavai Senathirajah) who lead the TNA.
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- Gammanpila, Udaya (4 August 2013). "TNA's majoritism in minority politics". Ceylon Today.
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