M. A. Sumanthiran

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M. A. Sumanthiran
ம. ஆ. சுமந்திரன்
M. A. Sumanthiran.jpg
Member of the Sri Lankan Parliament
for Jaffna District
Assumed office
Member of the Sri Lankan Parliament
for National List
In office
Personal details
Born (1964-02-09) 9 February 1964 (age 52)
Inuvil, Ceylon
Political party Illankai Tamil Arasu Kachchi
Other political
Tamil National Alliance
Alma mater Monash University
Profession Lawyer
Religion Christian
Ethnicity Sri Lankan Tamil
Website sumanthiran.com

Mathiaparanan Abraham Sumanthiran (Tamil: மதியாபரணம் ஆபிரகாம் சுமந்திரன்; born 9 February 1964; commonly known as M. A. Sumanthiran) is a Sri Lankan Tamil lawyer, politician and Member of Parliament.

Early life[edit]

Sumanthiran was born on 9 February 1964 at the Church of South India's McLeod Hospital in Inuvil in northern Ceylon.[1][2] His family are from the Vadamarachchi region of the Jaffna peninsula - his father is from Karaveddy and his mother is from Kudathanai.[2] Both of his grandfathers were teachers in Vadamarachchi.[2] Sumanthiran grew up in Colombo and was educated at Royal College, Colombo.[2][3] After school he joined the University of Madras, graduating with a B.Sc. degree in physics.[4] He then proceeded to Sri Lanka Law College, qualifying as an advocate.[4]

Sumanthiran is a Methodist Christian.[2][5] He is vice-president of the Methodist Church in Sri Lanka.[6][7]


Sumanthiran was called to the bar in 1991.[4] 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.[4] His successful cases include the privatisation of Sri Lanka Insurance Corporation, privatisation of Lanka Marine Services and the closure of Pramuka Bank.[4] 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.[4] He prevented the forced expulsion of Tamils from Colombo and successfully challenged an anti-conversion bill which the courts struck down as being unconstitutional.[4][8] 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.[4][9] 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.[4] His human rights work has led to him being threatened ,harrassed and branded "traitors in black coats" by the Sri Lankan military under the then President's brother Gotabhaya Rajapaksa.[10][11][12]

Sumanthiran has become one of Sri Lanka's top human rights and constitutional lawyers.[13] He received an LLM degree in internet and electronic law from Monash University in 2001.[4][14]

Sumanthiran was appointed as the Tamil National Alliance's (TNA) National List MP in the Sri Lankan Parliament following the 2010 parliamentary election.[15][16] In May 2012 he was elected Illankai Tamil Arasu Kachchi's (ITAK) Secretary for Foreign and Legal Affairs.[17][18] He became one of ITAK's two Assistant Secretaries in September 2014.[19][20] Sumanthiran was one of the TNA's candidates in Jaffna District at the 2015 parliamentary election. He was elected and re-entered Parliament.[21][22][23]

Sumanthiran is one of a trio of MPs (the other two being R. Sampanthan and Mavai Senathirajah) who lead the TNA.[24][25]

Electoral history[edit]

Electoral history of M. A. Sumanthiran
Election Constituency Party Votes Result
2015 parliamentary[26] Jaffna District TNA 58,043 Elected


  1. ^ "Directory of Members: M.A. Sumanthiran". Parliament of Sri Lanka. 
  2. ^ a b c d e Jeyaraj, D. B. S. (28 February 2015). "Tamil “Extremists” target Sampanthan and Sumanthiran of the TNA as “Traitors”". The Daily Mirror (Sri Lanka). 
  3. ^ "Members of Parliament". Tamil National Alliance. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "Sri Lanka public interest lawyer in parliament". Lank Business Online. 21 April 2010. 
  5. ^ "Church of South India Newsletter" (PDF). Jaffna Diocese of the Church of South India. July 2009. p. 2. 
  6. ^ "JDCSI Welcomes New Vice President of the Methodist Church". Jaffna Diocese of the Church of South India. 
  7. ^ Dwight, Richard (10 July 2008). "164th Anniversary celebration: History of the Methodist Church, Wellawatte". Daily News (Sri Lanka). 
  8. ^ "SL Supreme Court issues stay order on expelling Tamils from Colombo lodges". TamilNet. 8 June 2007. 
  9. ^ "CPA challenges 18th and 19th amendments". Daily News (Sri Lanka). 28 September 2002. 
  10. ^ "Behind the Rajapaksa brothers’ smiles". The Indian Express. 14 August 2009. 
  11. ^ "Gotabaya labels popular Colombo attorneys as traitors". TamilNet. 12 July 2009. 
  12. ^ "Campaign against some lawyers:Rule of law, people’s right to justice threatened – Chief Opp. Whip". The Island (Sri Lanka). 22 July 2009. 
  13. ^ "Past Hauser Global Scholars". New York University School of Law. 
  14. ^ "Post-war Sri Lanka: The Role of International Justice in Ending Military Oppression and Protecting the Rights of Tamil People". Australian National University. 
  15. ^ "National list MPs nominated: UPFA-17, UNP-09, DNA-02, and ITAK-01". TamilNet. 21 April 2010. 
  16. ^ "The full National List" (PDF). The Sunday Times (Sri Lanka). 25 April 2010. p. 12. 
  17. ^ Radhakrishnan, R. K. (27 May 2012). "Sampanthan re-elected leader of ITAK". The Hindu. 
  18. ^ "TNA on the verge of a split over ITAK". Ceylon Today. 30 May 2012. 
  19. ^ "Mavai replaces Sampanthan as ITAK leader". Tamil Guardian. 6 September 2014. 
  20. ^ "Changes In ITAK Top Posts". Asian Mirror. 7 September 2014. 
  21. ^ "PART I : SECTION (I) — GENERAL Government Notifications PARLIAMENTARY ELECTIONS ACT, No. 1 OF 1981" (PDF). The Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka Extraordinary. 1928/03. 19 August 2015. 
  22. ^ "Ranil tops with over 500,000 votes in Colombo". The Daily Mirror (Sri Lanka). 19 August 2015. 
  23. ^ "General Election 2015: Full list of preferential votes - Newsfirst". Sri Lanka News - Newsfirst | News1st | newsfirst.lk | Breaking. Retrieved 2016-02-12. 
  24. ^ Jeyaraj, D. B. S. (27 July 2013). "Wigneswaran, Senathirajah and the Facade of TNA Unity". The Daily Mirror (Sri Lanka). 
  25. ^ Gammanpila, Udaya (4 August 2013). "TNA's majoritism in minority politics". Ceylon Today. 
  26. ^ Jayakody, Pradeep (28 August 2015). "The Comparison of Preferential Votes in 2015 & 2010". The Daily Mirror (Sri Lanka). 

External links[edit]