26 November, 2020

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University Dons Condemn UGC Decisions To Bar Dr. Guruparan And University Academics From Practising Law

Academics have condemned the decision made by the University Grants Commission (UGC) to bar Dr. Kumaravadivel Guruparan, Senior Lecturer in Law and Head of the Department of Law, University of Jaffna, from legal practice.

Dr. Guruparan Kumaravadivel

We publish below the statement in full:

We, the undersigned academics attached to various public universities in Sri Lanka, protest the decision made by the University Grants Commission (UGC) to bar Dr. Kumaravadivel Guruparan, Senior Lecturer in Law and Head of the Department of Law, University of Jaffna, from legal practice. We point out that this decision violates the University Establishment Code which permits academics to engage in legal practice provided their engagement in legal practice does not affect their academic and other responsibilities at the university. We underline that Dr. Guruparan had permission from the University of Jaffna to practice law. 

On the 21st of August 2019, the military wrote to the UGC questioning the basis on which Dr. Guruparan was permitted to practise law in court. It is evident from this communication that the UGC’s decision to disallow Dr. Guruparan from practising law was instigated by the military. The interference of the military in the affairs of the University of Jaffna has been repeatedly brought to public attention by its students, the academics who teach there, and activist groups based in the North. If the autonomy of the universities and the University Grants Commission are to be preserved, the military should have no role in the decisions made by these institutions. 

We are deeply concerned about the undue importance given by the University Grants Commission to reports from the military and the compliant manner in which the UGC uses those reports as bases for decisions that jeopardize the wellbeing of higher educational institutions and the academics who serve in them. If this trend continues, the educational activities of the University of Jaffna and other universities will face a serious crisis, and academics will be discouraged from interacting with the community and making critical interventions in situations that involve violence and exploitation. 

In addition to teaching and conducting research, university academics are expected to contribute to the welfare of the community. Dr. Guruparan’s social work includes representing victims in court cases where the Sri Lankan military is accused of being the perpetrators. Living and working in one of the most highly militarized areas in the country, Dr. Guruparan has already faced threats and intimidation from the Sri Lankan military. We believe the recent threats Dr. Guruparan received and the UGC decision to bar him from legal practice are linked to his representation of victims in the Navatkuli Habeas Corpus case, which is related to the enforced disappearance of 24 boys from military custody in 1996. Instead of taking measures to ensure that Dr. Guruparan’s social contribution as a legal academic is not sabotaged by the military or other authoritarian forces, the UGC has unnecessarily yielded to the military’s pressure and made a decision that effectively de-links the academic from the larger society that he has served with sincere dedication. 

We as academics believe our teaching and research should be meaningful to not just our students and peers but also society at large, especially those who occupy its margins and peripheries. An education that is disconnected from and uninformed by the stark social realities amidst which we live has no social value. In order to make what we teach dynamic and substantive, we should constantly subject to academic scrutiny how what we teach, discuss, and examine in the classroom plays out and is experienced in the real world. We are of the view that the work Dr. Guruparan does as a practitioner of law, especially his appearance on behalf of victims in cases involving discrimination, abuse, and violence by powerful actors like the Sri Lankan military, will enrich the work he does as a legal scholar, benefit his students, and strengthen the intellectual and social credentials of his institution. The University Grants Commission appears to have completely ignored this important aspect of intellectual praxis in making the decision to bar Dr. Guruparan from practising law. 

Subsequent to the decision to bar Dr. Guruparan from practising law, the UGC recently banned university academics from practising as Attorney-at-Law. This decision, communicated via the Establishment Circular Letter No. 10/2019, was taken without any wider consultation with the academic community in the country. We question why legal academics are unreasonably barred from practising law whereas academics who teach subjects like Medicine, Engineering and Architecture in our university system are given permission to engage in tasks related to their disciplines and fields outside their institutions and do consultancy work for the state, social organizations and professional bodies. While there should be mechanisms and regulations to ensure academics who engage in social work, legal practice, and consultancy work fulfill their responsibilities to the institutions where they teach and the work they do outside the university system is relevant and important to society at large, blanket bans, like the one issued via the Establishment Circular Letter No. 10/2019, are unwarranted. The problematic decisions made by the UGC call for wider discussions on the social role of academics and the relationship of public universities to larger society. 

While condemning the military’s attempts to threaten and intimidate Dr. Guruparan and demanding that all state authorities ensure his safety, we call upon the University Grants Commission to revoke its decisions to bar Dr. Guruparan and university academics from practising law. We make these demands in the name of academic freedom and in defense of our social role as teachers and researchers. 

  1. Rev. Fr. M. V. E. Ravichandran, Senior Lecturer, Department of Christian Civilization, University of Jaffna
  2. Rev. Dr. J. C. Paul Rohan, Senior Lecturer Gr. 1, University of Jaffna
  3. Dr. Harini Amarasuriya, Open University of Sri Lanka
  4. Prof. Prabhath Jayasinghe, University of Colombo
  5. Dr. Sivagnanam Jeyasankar, Eastern University, Sri Lanka
  6. Ahilan Kadirgamar, Senior Lecturer, University of Jaffna
  7. Pavithra Kailasapathy, University of Colombo
  8. Dr. Maduranga Kalugampitiya, University of Peradeniya
  9. Vidarshana Kannangara, Visiting Lecturer, University of Kelaniya
  10. Ramya Kumar, University of Jaffna
  11. Mrs. Purathani Mathanarajan, Lecturer (Probationary), Department of Law, University of Jaffna
  12. Dr. Kaushalya Perera, University of Colombo
  13. Nicola Perera, University of Colombo
  14. Harshana Rambukwella, Open University of Sri Lanka
  15. Dr. T. Sananthanan, University of Jaffna
  16. Muttukrishna Sarvananthan PhD, Senior Lecturer in Economics, University of Jaffna
  17. Andi Schubert, Open University of Sri Lanka
  18. Prof. Sumathy Sivamohan, University of Peradeniya
  19. Nirogini Thambaiya, Lecturer (Probationary), Department of Law, University of Jaffna
  20. Mr. S. Thiruchchenthuran, Senior Lecturer, Department of Political Science, University of Jaffna
  21. Mahendran Thiruvarangan, Department of Linguistics & English, University of Jaffna
  22. Mr. T. Vigneswaran, Senior Lecturer, Department of Political Science, University of Jaffna
  23. Thiyagaraja Waradas, Senior Lecturer, University of Colombo
  24. Carmen Wickramagamage, University of Peradeniya
  25. T. Jayasingam, Professor of Botany, Eastern University, Sri Lank
  26. Sivanesan Pradinath, Lecturer (Probationary), Department of Law, University of Jaffna
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Latest comments

  • 7
    32

    Greatway to pay for money spent by the public to educate these people. Here after they, “TODAY LECTURE IS CANCELLED BECAUSE I HAVE TO GET READY FOR THE TOMORROW COURT CASE”. The most democratic way to rip the country. Is there a shortage of Lawyers and President’s councils in SL.

    • 21
      4

      JD Do not lie. The Medical specialists do it all the time.You are a racialist

      • 5
        11

        NANDAMAL: Oh, University Law Faculty is following the medical profession. Nice excuse.

    • 10
      1

      There are many Dept. Heads of Universities appointed to run government Institutions – eg Charitha Herath – What about them ?? this is purely Racial and Political discrimination …

    • 4
      1

      There are many Dept. Heads of Universities appointed to run government Institutions – eg Charitha Herath – What about them ?? this is purely Racial and Political discrimination …

    • 4
      2

      JD you must not comment anywhere they are talking about education. Your stupidity has no relevance to education. By the way I expected to see your comment as the first comment since this involved a Tamil. I know you are a loser and a downright racist. You are a weak loser, so threatened by a small portion of the community. Tamils are the minority and they are not going to eat you alive, relax.

  • 17
    4

    It is the choice of the Buddhist Sinhala people that military rule (almost) in the North East Srilanka and for minorities. If you look at the list of Dons signed this letter majority are Tamils and from Jaffna University. None of the Muslim academics signed.

    • 16
      1

      But it is also true on the basis of the many level headed Sinhalese University academics who have signed in condemnation of the UGC’s position; that it is unfair to generalise all Sinhala Buddhists are supportive of military rule in the N&E of the country.

    • 10
      1

      Ajith, there are many Sinhalese names listed on here too (maybe 1/3rd of the list?). But like you said, not one Muslim.

    • 3
      0

      Does it matter whether a Muslim, a Malay, a Borah, a Colombo Chetty or a Burgher has not signed it? Shouldn’t we only treat the issue raised?

  • 30
    4

    It’s a bloody shame the UGC has succumbed to intimidation by the Military Junta of Gotler. If the UGC is so prim, why don’t they stop their mediocre lecturers from exploiting school children by giving tuition classes?

  • 8
    22

    To me Kumaravadivel Guruparan is a separatist. Accordingly I consider him to be in the enemy camp that threaten the unity and the territorial integrity of SL. However as it stands at present, preventing him from practising law and representing his clients appear discriminatory and illogical. Therefore my view is that he should be allowed to practice law. There are are many different & effective ways available to fight these separatists.

    • 20
      1

      Hela!
      Kumaravadevel is is a Separatist? so what? He “separates” himself from others of his kind in the University. He is concerned about the fundamental rights of the people and he has every right to speak on behalf of the underdog.” To- days lecture is canceled because I have to get ready for the to-morrows court case”? says JD. Has he ever done it? How about Doctors abandoning their duties and going for private practice including operations? All this is because he is representing the boys who were allegedly killed by the army? Tamil boys are neither safe when they are living nor after their death.
      Army rule even before the present rule?

    • 18
      2

      Is he a bigger separatist than a president who orchestrated rioting against his own people in 1983? Or the two senior ministers who travelled to Jaffna and supervised the burning of the library there? Or is he a bigger separatist than the president in power who, at the militarily weakest state of the LTTE gave them truckloads of guns to let them rebuild again (and then be bumped off himself)? Or the president who ordered Kalmunai (and other) police stations to surrender without firing a single shot, then to be lined up and shot — some 600 of them — the gang leader who carried out that massacre had later the luxury of travelling in a Sri Lankan diplomatic passport? Or is Guruparan a greater separatist than the presidential candidate who bribed the LTTE to make the Tamil people boycott the elections so he could win?
      Hela, the Tamils and the Sinhalese are largely the same people which we have to celebrate; but there are cultural differences we cherish also. There is no harm in sharing in a bit more transparent way how we all live in this island. Just as asking for 50-50 was a stupid idea of the 40’s/50’s, and asking for a separate country that covers half the island’s coastline was stupid idea of the 70’s and 80’s, flatly refusing to devolve some power to the regions to enable a little bit of local decision making and giving the Tamil people a bit of freedom to organize their affairs and feel a full part of Sri Lanka is silly. That refusal is as much of separatism as anything Guruparan might have said or done.

    • 12
      2

      Helass

      “To me Kumaravadivel Guruparan is a separatist.”

      For you even your shadow is looks separatist/terrorist.

      “Accordingly I consider him to be in the enemy camp that threaten the unity and the territorial integrity of SL.”

      We know you consider the most viled war criminals and crooks as Buddha, the awakened one.
      The unity and the territorial integrity of SL is Hindia’s problem not yours therefore leave it to Hindia let them do the worrying.

      Mahinda and Gota knew that and they are very pliable to Hindians when the clan is in power. Did you know what Gota did inside the closed doors in Sultanate of Delhi with Modi?

  • 14
    0

    Are we to understand that the military here in Sri Lanka considers a person practising law as a security risk? Unless I see the copy of the purported letter it is difficult for me to buy that. This is a case where the UGC must take the full responsibility of the decision and what is true to Dr. Kumaravadivel must be equally be applied to other legal academics. Whether the academic is a doctor or a lawyer, it is a part of continuing education one must at least occasionally practise the profession. I must necessarily caution the professional academics that the professional practise should not subsume one’s academic duties.

  • 13
    1

    UGC membership has prostituted themselves twice by letting the Military to influence the decision making process. Those who signed the letter to the UGC has given enough reasons for the UGC to reverse the decision. If UGC has any doubts it should consult universities in other countries such as those in UK and USA. May be it is time for the UGC to restricted to granting funds based on a common criteria and appoint Board of Trustees for each of the universities to replace the University Councils.

  • 13
    1

    This is simply outrageous. There are crooks and criminals practicing law all over the country, some even without proper credentials, and they disbar this professor? However much one can disagree with Dr. Guruparan’s political ideology we cannot agree to this kind of totally unjust measures. Disbarring this lawyer proves without doubt that he has been doing something right and effective. Whoever takes over the case(s) must follow the same line of work, and bring justice to the victims. It is high time that the military is moved back into where it belongs, namely in military camps, and we must start downgrading the military since there is no war now and we cannot continue to feed the military unnecessarily.

    • 4
      1

      Punchi Point

      You got a point or two above.
      When did you start converting to liberalism/secularism/democracy/…. and to question authority especially the single handed generals, the Gestapo?

  • 10
    1

    Has the UGC given cogent reasons preventing Dr. Guruparan from practicing as a Lawyer? Just because the Military does not want him to appear in court to defend those victimised by the Military is by no means sufficient grounds to stop him. This should be challenged in the Supreme court.
    I am a little pessimistic though of the verdict. Head of State is a former Colonel in the Army!

  • 3
    1

    UGC under mohan de silva was a totally a political tool. He would bend for any politician. He was appointed to that post by Karu Jayasoriyas recommondation who is Mohans patient, Luckly these corrupt people are out now. We donot know who will re-place him

    • 1
      0

      Reply to Rohan

      Is this the same Rohan who hounded the previous UGC chairperson?

      Is this the same Rohan who boasted shamefully about his private medical practice?

      If you are one and the same, shame on you.

  • 1
    1

    We come to know from LankaCNews that the Swiss embassy employee has provided informations about the those escapee to Outside. We have no names or what were their crimes or convictions that prevented escapees from going foreign countries (we used the word “escapees” but it is not proved or official). We do not know if any courts have denied permission for any one them to leave outside. We don’t know, even the minimum, if Nalanda shouldn’t have left the country for any reason. But by the news, it seems the new goverment and the Swiss embassy officer have had some common information by that, she helped the escapees against goverment. If the above induction is correct in logic, it is quite certain goverment white vanned the woman to get secrets which could be known only to Swiss embassy. In the past the embassy jobs were nice and with hefty payments; but in future these flowers will come with a thorn attached, after white vanned, 7-12 prison term too, if Aanduwa wish so.

  • 1
    0

    There are several issues at stake.
    1. Are academics allowed to do private practice?
    Doctors and Engineers do with permission of the University, subject to UGC guidelines. Why not others?
    2. Are lawyers among academics who are allowed private practice?
    I am aware that they are allowed to do notarial work. (Frankly, knowing the way law courts operate, very few will like to retain an academic on his/her behalf in court. But where there are matters of legal technicalities, people are likely to seek assistance from academics.)
    3. Whether or not the permission granted to practice includes court appearance, remains to be clarified.
    4. If permission excludes court appearance, is refusal selective, and has anybody been pulled up for appearing without prior permission? That is assuming that others could have appeared; and if others have been allowed or forgiven, there is a problem.
    5. If permission includes court appearance then we have a bigger problem.
    *
    It will help to investigate the last three items above to arrive at valid conclusions.

    • 0
      0

      Why should lawyers be allowed to do private practices?
      Especially in the context conflict of interests when a lawyer who is elected as an MP the right to practise law privately and to earn a double income.

      • 0
        0

        U
        Parliament is not an employer. Mostly there is no problem to practice one’s profession, unless an employer has issues.
        Conflict of interests can arise in some contexts; and objections can be raised about breach of privilege.
        *
        The University is an employer. Permission for an employee to work elsewhere is not by right but granted as a privilege.
        If the university disallows private practice, it will lose many of its academics because compared to the some of the fees that one can get the salary is a pittance.
        What should concern us is whether rules are applied evenly and fairly.

  • 6
    3

    Hundreds of Legal experts, Lawyers, Attorneys, Academics, Barristers and scholars in jurisprudence from many functional democracies as Norway, Sweden, United Kingdom, Canada, Germany, France and Hong Kong are willing to sign in support of Dr. Kumaravadivel Guruparan, if he would open a web page fro signatures. Sri Lanka as an island of blood needs open minded Legal Luminaries like Guruparan to be a voice of sanity and truth.
    Dr. Costa

    • 1
      5

      Dr. Costa…. this open mindedness commenced with Benny Tai…………..
      Look at the mess HK are in. HK & Costa better mind your own business
      WHERE IS COSTA’S SANITY ????
      OMG with a doctorate meddling in others affairs.
      Dons have no control over the students. Students have no respect for Dons.
      Teachers in Secordary schools promoting children to revolt against the Government.
      Civil Service who get paid by the government agitating against the Govt.

      Its not far off when Students begin to dictate to Dons & Teachers demanding higher grades. There will be enough and more Doctors to go around in time to come. Even the main door of a Vice Chancellors residence was spray painted.
      Learned Institutions are destroyed by the very students who learn therein who seek to accumilate knowledge and aspiring to be leaders of tomorrow.

      F R E E D O M …..M A X I M I S E D……………………………….This is tomorrow..
      External forces at play and idiots destroying….. Where is the Sanity ?????

  • 2
    4

    For what reason does he want to practice law? Is it for financial gain or anything else? If it is for financial gain he should quit the academic position as he can make more money out there. If it is based on anything else such as research purposes, he should state so up front and request permission. Remember academics are expected to engage in research/publications. Personally, I wouldn’t favor private practice while on state positions. We have learnt this the hard way by allowing outside clinical practice to Medical/dental professionals.

  • 2
    6

    Some questions:
    =
    Can Guruparan show evidence of how much he has paid to the UoJ from his income as a lawyer during the last 5 years? I believe that he should have paid 10% of his considerable income.
    =
    Is Guruparan not involved in bringing very radical politics and religion to UoJ?
    =
    What has happened to the father of Guruparan who supposedly was high and mighty in UGC and supported the son?
    =
    Was Guruparan able to cope with his career as a politician, lawyer and lecturer or had a bad result in all three?
    =
    Was there not a conflict of interest when Guruparan was at the same time a politician, a legal advisor of UoJ and even practicing law with a member of the council of UoJ?
    =
    Can Guruparan show evidence of having applied and received leave for all of his “absenteeism” that has taken him out of UoJ, out of Jaffna and even abroad especially India during the last years.
    =
    Since UGC has decided to ban all law lecturers from practicing law I see no discrimination against Guruparan.

    • 5
      0

      JO
      This is personal attack to divert attention from the core issue.
      Can you let us know when the UGC decided to ban all law lecturers from practicing law? Just the Circular number will do.

      • 1
        2

        SJ,
        =
        I admit that what I wrote above was partly a personal attack. I doubt any honest reply from Guruparan or others.
        =
        The Circular is available on line. Number 10/2019 from September 2019 and thus before Gota. Actually the UGC has decided based on observations from 2013.
        =
        The Circular is not targeting only Guruparan.
        =
        I believe that a letter from MI exists if a copy is published. Complaints have been filed by others regarding the potential conflict of interest of Guruparan.
        =
        CT appears to be changing its colors. First there was defense of the former VC and now even Guruparan. It will be interesting to see how CT behaves later.
        =
        Please count how many signed and who they are.
        =
        Maybe Guruparan can enter Parliament next year? It would be a win-win situation for the Parliament and UoJ. As a MP he would be able to continue defending the Widows and Orphans of Jaffna.

        • 4
          1

          Lot of insinuation here. Guruparan is not a politician. He is not a member of any of the political parties. Many signatories above do not agree with his political positions. The statement appreciates his involvement cases where the military of the SL state is accused of being perpetrators. Isn’t it a courageous and commendable act on his part? Guruparan is a Tamil nationalist. He is open about it. To the best of my knowledge, he is not into religious politics at the university or outside. He is a secular Tamil nationalist. This is not an article or news report by CT. It was sent to the CT and CT carried it. Daily Mirror also carried it. It is obvious that not many academics in the country are courageous enough to challenge the military. That may be one reason why there aren’t many signatures. Many others may be of the view that legal academics should not practise. The authors have stated their position here. Guruparan is not practicing law with Shantha Abhimanasingham. He apprenticed under her many years ago. Then SA was not even a Council Member. The statement is not just about Guruparan. It also urges the UGC to withdraw its decision to ban academics from practising law.

          • 0
            0

            Responder,
            =
            “This is not an article or news report by CT. It was sent to the CT and CT carried it.”
            =
            Only that?

        • 0
          0

          JO
          Thanks.
          When we discuss issues let us stick to matters that truly concern the core issue.
          It is best to set aside our personal views of individuals.
          There is nothing wrong in defending anyone based on an issue. But it is ugly to target selected individuals on pretext of defending someone, especially when no attempt has been made to verify the charges.
          It should not matter to us who signs a protest. Let us support a good cause if we do not doubt the credentials of most authors. Even where we do not trust the authors, let us not miss a fair cause.
          What should concern us is whether rules are applied fairly and evenly.
          A relevant question is whether Dr G appeared in court before the Circular.
          Even if so, that need not nullify the validity of the Circular, but can raise doubts.
          *
          I accept your point that there can be a conflict of interest in a lawyer academic appearing in court cases. Such matters can and should be resolved within institutions without acrimony.
          If we can only leave out personalities and concentrate on issues, sanity will prevail in CT pages.

          • 0
            0

            SJ,
            =
            “When we discuss issues let us stick to matters that truly concern the core issue”
            =
            The core issue is that the UGC has finally prohibited law lecturers from appearing in courts. This decision should not be cancelled because of a lecturer in Jaffna.
            =
            “I accept your point that there can be a conflict of interest in a lawyer academic appearing in court cases.”
            =
            I meant more the fact that Guruparan was advising UoJ while having his strong political opinions and goals. I have heard that he was clever enough to step down but please confirm this if you can.
            =
            What happened to the father of Guruparan who according to CT especially the comments was manipulating UGC in matters concerning UoJ?

            • 0
              1

              JO
              Some are good at putting 2 and 2 to make anything other than 4. Do not waste time on speculative comments.
              There are those who had their private plans for the UoJ, who attacked all and sundry in their various campaigns, most of which came to nought not for anyone else’s actions but their own.
              I do not take nasty comments on persons seriously, and it is hard to defend a victim, because those who indulge in personal attacks, despite their learning and social standing, can and do sink to very low levels.
              *
              To me there is only an important issue here.
              Has Dr KG been singled out for punishment? Or is it a situation where his court appearance has, for reasons good or bad, brought into focus an earlier neglected problem?
              As things are, nothing can stop Dr KG from providing legal advice to a client or assisting a lawyer who appears in court.
              *
              Whether UGC’s instruction against court appearances by its academics is right or wrong, once a ruling is there, a university cannot defy it. There is room for protest and appeal. But procedure should be followed.
              *
              If the UGC prohibits certain kinds of private practices, it has to justify the decision. One could contest it in Court under Fundamental Rights.

              • 3
                0

                1. Guruparan’s issue was triggered by the military. The military wrote to the UGC. That was because he appeared in a case where members of the military are the accused. Isn’t this an instance of conflict of interest?

                The decision to bar Guruparan first and later all the other academics was triggered by questions posed to the UGC by the military. Some even observed on social media that the UGC tried to justify one bad decision by extending it to an entire group of people. Example: “A rule designed to punish a particular person doesn’t become fair when it is subsequently extended to the collective. These are bad faith rules.” A tweet posted by Gehan Gunatilleke.

                2. There is a section of the academia who hold the view that the UoJ Council could have rejected the UGC’s decision. They believe the Council has autonomy over this matter. Others are of the view the Council cannot go against this UGC ruling. Not sure which of these two views is right.

                Some academics are of the view the administrations of the universities and the Councils in general do not use their autonomy, as provided in the university establishment code, fully and send some of their decisions to the UGC for clarification/confirmation unnecessarily. I have not studied these matters carefully. But these views do exist and they need to be discussed in a decent manner.

                3. The issue here is not just about the application of rules. We should also discuss whether such rules are necessary and whom such rules actually serve in this country. The issue is also about academic freedom and the social role of academics. Especially about the importance of academics and others speaking truth to power. Guruparan was barred from practising law because he tried to expose the atrocities the military had carried out, and supported the victims. That needs to be highlighted.

              • 1
                0

                SJ: //Has Dr KG been singled out for punishment?//
                I missed this previously. What do you mean punishment — what has he done wrong to get punished? Is this how you (and the U of J Council) interpret UGC’s action?

                • 0
                  0

                  CC
                  You missed it again: “singled out for punishment” is idiomatic usage.
                  What it means is ‘specifically targetted by the circular’.

  • 6
    0

    My understanding is UGC issued an instruction (silly of them) to stop him practising, but leaving the final decision to the Jaffna University Council. The Council here should have had the courage and responsibility to stand up and defend the institution and its staff. In this case and several others, the U of J Council has proved to be utterly useless. And watch this, one of them will now come here and say “You are objecting to this, but you did not object to global warming!” Or have they (council members) all been already fired?

    • 0
      0

      Clotted Cream. You would have been correct a month ago. But a week or so ago, UGC issued a circular ( it is in this statement) that Lawyers could not practise as attorneys at law.
      A circular is vastly different from an instruction.

      • 0
        0

        S
        Thanks for the clarification.
        I think that CC has got the terms mixed up.
        I would normally think that the UGC makes the rules and a University Council uses its discretion only in case of ambiguity.
        *
        However, do not UGC circulars lay down rules?

      • 3
        0

        Sumathy: Thanks. It is true the circular now stops all law lectures from appearing in courts.– But, the UGC, initially asked/told/instructed/wrote/ordered that Guru alone stops. At that point, the final decision was left to the UofJ Council who failed to defend a fellow academic here. That is my issue — on the level of responsibility with which our Council is capable of acting. Are they able to tell the difference between right and wrong or are they just holding their positions for the simple perks of vadai, maalu banis and plain tea served during meeting breaks?
        (Now, of course, it has become a wider issue for the entire academic community in Sri Lanka — may we all read Niemoller’s famous lines. It would also be interesting to check if G.L.Peiris made court appearances while serving in the university.)

        • 2
          0

          CC
          A University Council has no colleagues, but only responsibility to assist the VC to run the University according to rules.
          If there is a ruling by the UGC, the Council cannot reject it outright, as the UGC has the final say in such matters.
          If there is an appeal by the affected party, the Council could take up the matter.
          *
          What is sad is that certain things are discussed in the media, based on incomplete information and irrelevancies, even before the Council is informed. (Just look at the conflicting versions that you see on this page.)

          • 0
            0

            SJ:

            //Council has no colleagues, but only responsibility to assist the VC to run the University according to rules//

            What a sad, sad interpretation of the role of a University Council! That you, members of the Council, could hold such senior positions and not know the value of this young fellow’s intellect is utterly disappointing.

            • 0
              0

              CC
              Institutions have rules and there is procedure even to change bad rules. (The legal system is no different. A court cannot make laws.)
              If there is an injustice, there is a way to set about correcting it.
              There are no shortcuts.
              Sorry to disappoint you, but a University Council can neither make rules for the system nor break the rules at will.
              I am sure that you are as intelligent as any academic and will understand this plain reasoning.
              *
              (I can promise you that if the Council did bend the rule for Dr. KG, before not too long, there will be chorus of protest about double standards of the Council by many of the very same protesters of today.)
              *
              Sadly a few too many of us are sucked into trial by media and popularity contests.

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                No, SJ, nobody is asking to bend or break rules. Come on, it ought to be your role to defend this institution’s autonomy and our staff. Challenging / questioning arbitrary rules and actions from UGC is not bending rules.

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                CC
                Whether or not one asks for bending or breaking rules, what has been suggested, if granted, can be interpreted as bending or breaking rules.
                The issue before the Council is not about any individual, but about a UGC Circular. A Council is obliged to inform parties concerned accordingly.
                There are ways to question decisions.
                A University Council cannot get sentimental and shoot from its hip the way writers to CT do.
                Has anyone concerned bothered to present arguments to the authority concerned in support of university academic lawyers pleading cases in court?
                There are several sensible options before affected parties.
                Trial by internet is not one of them.

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                  //A Council is obliged to inform parties concerned accordingly.//

                  Any peon can do that, no? Why then, may I ask, do we need eminent people to serve on a university Council?

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                    There is a way to do official business. If you do not know how, keep going with your silly potshots.
                    I give up!
                    Congratulations

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                      SJ: I have followed our university matters closely and know on three occasions, the Council failed, and failed miserably. On the appointment of the last VC, the Council could not even understand the notion of conflict of interest; on the sacking of the VC without any inquiry or charge; and on the failure to defend KG. These are very serious matters in which you had a responsibility to speak up, exercise common sense and challenge the instructions from the UGC. I don’t expect the Council to shoot from the hip on each and every instruction/ circular about how many quotations one needs to take before buying a pencil. But the above three are very serious matters with long term implications for our university. Instead of standing up, you took the view that your job is simply to obey the rules of which end of the pencil to sharpen.
                      ++
                      Anyway, I have just heard that all lay members of Council have been asked to resign. True? I am not expecting anyone better to be appointed — it will all be the DD gang again, and will be even worse with Council members being summoned to Sridhar theatre before meetings. So the future of our university is not looking good. Just like the Yahapalanaya government, you were given a chance to do good and you blew it!

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    Dr.Guruparan
    Its very hard to leave the mother land but i would suggest leave the country Go some where respect the human value and dignity,even our head of state is US citizen but he wont gives up why they look after their own citizens regardless.
    They trumatised and destroy you,in this morden age look at Dr.Shaffie”s case.
    .this war was dragged for 30 yrs,they branded all tamils are LTTE,rather than inclusive as Sri Lankans,they segragated.
    Library was burnt down then no change of mind fate of the pasta factory.
    To the North armoured cars warships bombers heavy military ! Who do they fight against,so round up villeages took all the ypung Boys.parents scared to keep the children home,so most of them didnt worried about their Studiees only to escape ,some joined the arms group only to survive and no means.
    30 yrs war 10 yrs gone where are we now?
    Some might say we are gone back to Dutta Gamini’s era

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    Some Food for Thought….
    Has Guruparan got proper permission to practice in the Court of Law? Has he paid due amount to the admin ? Doctors are practicing during off time only. Specialists are doing the practice in their respective specialty only. Where as Guruparan is doing all HR, Civil, Temple cases etc. Being an academic he should have selected one out of all and should be an authority in that. As correctly SJ said he would have done the same after working hours in Nortorial work or to advice his junior or fellow lawyers in any difficult cases. Even in Dubai many eminent Sri Lankan Lawyers are working other than appearance in the Court as the citizen of that country can do so. He being a Head of the Law Department do work like Legal adviser to UOJ, Running NGO “Adaiyalam” and involving in Politics and practice in courts etc & etc. No one can do a proper work in any if they involve in many. In this article it was mentioned as “He is doing social work in the cases of missing persons… is he doing all free of charge or someone is funding? Why are other academics in the Law Faculty are not practicing? In the case of doctors almost all doctors do practice after working hours except few dedicated ones. If he really want to help the society by appearing in the court of law rather than fleeing he would have resigned (any way resigned if fleeing story is correct) and taken up Attorney at law work plus all other work. This is written not to hurt Dr.Guruparan but on fair and balance argument. Even he can answer to this explaining his stands. After all this letter in the CT also written by his colleagues.

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      AnanthaNadaraja:
      What is “working hours” for an academic? Many good academics usually work long hours outside the 9.00-5.00 period on preparing lectures, marking tutorials and doing research. As long as timetabled teaching and key meetings are not missed, an academic is best managed by flexible working hours. So Guru should not appear in courts when there is a lecture to give (or making an arrangement to swap class with another lecturer) or if he has a Senate meeting to attend. Otherwise you should judge his university contribution by the quality of teaching / research / scholarship he provides. In this Guruparan is miles ahead of the Jaffna University’s average lecturer! In fact he may be one of the best we have.
      +
      And what, may I ask, is wrong with Guruparan making political comments — have you read the work of our university’s founder Kailasapathy? Please do. He wrote regularly in local press words of great political wisdom.

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        CC,
        To some extent I agree with you.

        Why then such a caliber (Dr.G)… is fleeing. He should fight against the injustice against him before fighting against others????

        Let him come back and serve the Nation as a whole without dividing the Nation for petty things. Be happy with all and get the rights rather than becoming anger with others.

        Bye Bye…

        Anantha Nadarajah

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    Other professionals can choose the time for practice. Lawyers appearing in courts don’t have such freedom. I believe that is the reason for this ban. He can be a legal consultant, teacher or thinker.

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