|Minister of Local Government|
|Succeeded by||Ranasinghe Premadasa|
|Solicitor General of Ceylon|
|Preceded by||D. S. C. B. Jansze|
|Succeeded by||A. C. Alles|
|Member of the Senate of Ceylon|
19 November 1907|
Jaffna, British Ceylon
|Died||23 November 1976(aged 69)|
|Political party||Illankai Tamil Arasu Kachchi|
|Tamil United Liberation Front|
|Children||Neelan, Rajendra, Janaki|
|Alma mater||S. Thomas' College, Mount Lavinia
Ceylon University College
Tiruchelvam was born on 19 November 1907 in Jaffna. When he was three-months old he and his mother went to British Malaya where his father Visvanathan Murugeysu, who hailed from Vaddukoddai, was Head of the Telegraph Office, an officer in the British colonial administration, in Kuala Lumpur. The Tiruchelvam family were friends of the Chelvanayakam family who were also living in Malaya. Tiruchelvam had three brothers and a sister. Tiruchelvam and his brother Rajendra were sent to British Ceylon to have their education at S. Thomas' College, Mount Lavinia. S. J. V. Chelvanayakam was the brothers' guardian. Tiruchelvam later studied at Ceylon University College, obtaining an honours degree in History.
Tiruchelvam married Punithavathy (Punitham) Canagaratnam. They had four children: Neelan Tiruchelvam, Rajendra, Janaki.
After graduating Tiruchelvam studied law and became a lawyer in 1935 when he started practicing law. He served as the magistrate in Negombo, Panadura and Galle till 1945. He was appointed Assistant to the Legal Secretary to the then Legal Secretary Sir Alan Rose. He assisted Sir Alan in drafting the Soulbury Constitution. Tiruchelvam was appointed Deputy Solicitor-General in 1944. He was appointed Solicitor General of Ceylon in 1957, a position he held until 1960.
Tiruchelvam took part in a number of high-profile legal cases. He was one of the defence lawyers in the 1976 Trial-At-Bar of Appapillai Amirthalingam, K. P. Ratnam, Murugesu Sivasithamparam and Kathiripillai Thurairatnam, four leading TULF politicians who were charged with sedition for defying the First Republican Constitution. 72 Tamil lawyers took part in the defence, including S. J. V. Chelvanayakam and G. G. Ponnambalam, two leading lawyer-politicians. All the defendants were acquitted.
Tiruchelvam became involved in politics in the 1960s, becoming chief advisor and principal political strategist to S. J. V. Chelvanayakam, founder/leader of Illankai Tamil Arasu Kachchi (Federal Party). Tiruchelvam and other ITAK leaders were jailed in 1961 for staging a mass satyagraha against the Sinhala Only Act. They spent over six months in Panagoda jail.
In 1965, after the signing of the Senanayake-Chelvanayakam Pact (aka Dudley-Chelvanayakam Pact), ITAK joined the United National Party-led national government. ITAK's MP refused take ministerial portfolios but instead Tiruchelvam was appointed to the Senate of Ceylon and made Minister of Local Government. During Tiruchelvam's ministerial tenure the eventual creation of the University of Jaffna was started, the Tamil Language Special Provisions Act (aka Reasonable Use of Tamil Act) became law in 1966 and administrative reforms carried out.
Tiruchelvam resigned from the government in November 1968 when Prime Minister Dudley Senanayake overturned his decision to make Fort Fredrick in Trincomalee a sacred precinct (the fort contained the Koneswaram temple). ITAK then left the national government, blaming the government's failure to implement the Senanayake-Chelvanayakam Pact. Tiruchelvam stayed on in the Senate until it was abolished in 1971.
- D. B. S. Jeyaraj (24 November 2007). "* Home Murugeysen Tiruchelvam: Strategist-Statesman of the Federal Party". Transcurrents.
- Altaf, Saleem (24 December 2006). "A Tribute: Senator Murugeysu Tiruchelvam QC". Sunday Observer, Sri Lanka.
- Wilson, A. J. (23 April 2006). "Senator Murugeysu Tiruchelvam QC: A tribute to an intellectual, a man of many parts". Sunday Observer, Sri Lanka.
- Ranil Wickremesinghe. "Remembering Senator M. Tiruchelvam". mtiruchelvam.com.
- Rajasingham, K. T. "Chapter 20 - Tamil leadership lacks perspicuity". SRI LANKA: THE UNTOLD STORY.
- Rajasingham, K. T. "Chapter 21 - A further lack of perspicuity". SRI LANKA: THE UNTOLD STORY.
- Rajasingham, K. T. "Chapter 24: Tamil militancy - a manifestation". SRI LANKA: THE UNTOLD STORY.