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Jaffna University lecturer 'compelled' to resign following ban on private practice

Jaffna University senior law lecturer, Dr Kumaravadivel Guruparan, has resigned "with utmost pain and sadness" after he was barred from private legal practice last year. 

In his resignation letter, Guruparan wrote that he felt "compelled to resign" after the Council of the University of Jaffna barred him from practising as a lawyer at the instigation of the Sri Lankan military. The move is seen as a direct reprisal for his representation of victims in the Navatkuli Habeas Corpus case, related to the disappearance of 24 Tamil youths from military custody in 1996.

"I was not consulted by the Council prior to the ban, in violation of fundamental principles of natural justice and fairness. The decision of the council in my view constitutes an abject surrender of the autonomy that this University holds in trust for the benefit of its academic staff vide their academic freedom, a freedom that is quintessential to the proper functioning of any university," Guruparan wrote. 

The decision to bar the academic sparked outcry across Sri Lanka, with many criticising the politicised nature of the decision and the ongoing military interference in Sri Lanka's academic institutions.

Guruparan filed a Fundamental Rights petition in Sri Lanka's Supreme Court in December 2019, challenging the decision made by the Council and the University Grants Commission. 

If the Supreme Court rules in his favour, Guruparan will seek to re-join the University of Jaffna with his "independence, dignity and autonomy intact" he added. 

See full text of his letter here



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