Bishop Joseph Ponniah was born on 12 October 1952 at Thannamunai. He was ordained a priest on 30 April 1980, and appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Trincomalee - Batticaloa Diocese on 24 May 2008. His Episcopal ordination was on 24 May 2008.
Bishop Joseph Ponniah was appointed as the first Bishop of Diocese of Batticaloa by the Holy Father Pope Benedict the 16 on 03rd July 2012. He was installed as the first Bishop of newly erected Diocese of Batticaloa on 23 September 2012. Bishop Joseph Ponniah is the Vice Chairman of Catholic National Commissions for Education, Catechetics & Bible Apostolate, Catholic National Commission for Missionary Activity, Catholic National Commission for Liturgy & Culture, and Committee member of the Finance.