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Governor returns bill seeking NEET exemption for TN, says poor will be hit

Source: PTI   -  Edited By: Senjo M R
February 03, 2022 20:59 IST
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Tamil Nadu Governor RN Ravi has returned to the state government, an assembly Bill seeking exemption to the state from the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test, saying it went against the interests of rural and economically poor students.

IMAGE: Tamil Nadu Governor RN Ravi. Photograph: ANI Photo

The governor has returned the bill, adopted by the state assembly in September 2021 and the report of a high level committee constituted by the Tamil Nadu government in this connection to the assembly Speaker M Appavu, a Raj Bhavan release said.


The governor "after detailed study of the LA Bill No.43 of 2021 for admission to Undergraduate Medical Courses seeking exemption from NEET, and the report of the high level committee constituted by the state government in this regard, which is the basis for the Bill and also examining the pre-NEET status of social justice in medical admission especially for students coming from socially and economically poor background, is of the opinion that the Bill is against interests of the students specially the rural and economically poor students of the state."

"Hence, the hon'ble governor has returned the Bill to the hon'ble speaker, Tamil Nadu legislative assembly on February 01, 2022, giving detailed reasons, for its re-consideration by the House," it said.

The Supreme Court in Christian Medical College, Vellore Association Vs Union of India (2020) also has comprehensively examined the issue specially from the Social Justice perspective and upheld NEET as it prevents economic exploitation of poor students and is in furtherance of social justice, it added.

The governor's decision comes months after Chief Minister M K Stalin met him in November and urged him to forward the bill to the President for his assent, besides an all-party meeting chaired by the latter last month where it was deciding to put up a unified legal battle against the central qualification exam. NEET has emotional undertones in the state in the backdrop of alleged suicides of medical aspirants, either for failing to clear it or due to apprehensions over scoring low marks.

The death of a Dalit girl from Ariyalur district, S Anitha, in 2017 by suicide over failing in NEET prompted an outrage in the state and calls for abolition of NEET have only gained steam ever since, even as the previous AIADMK government also adopted an assembly resolution seeking exemption for Tamil Nadu from the ambit of NEET.

Abolition of NEET is a poll promise of the DMK, which sailed to power in May 2021 after a 10 year-stint in the opposition. Barring BJP, all other parties in Tamil Nadu are opposed to NEET.

In September 2021, while batting for doing away with NEET, the assembly bill had said the entrance test is not a fair or equitable method of admission since it favoured the rich and elite sections of society.

Quoting a high level committee led by Justice A K Rajan, a retired judge of the Madras High Court, the preamble in the bill had then said, the panel, on making a detailed study concluded that if NEET continued for a few more years, the health care system of Tamil Nadu would be very badly affected and there may not be enough doctors for postings in primary health centres or state-run hospitals and that the rural and urban poor may not be able to join the medical courses.

Meanwhile, Pattali Makkal Katchi MP Anbumani Ramadoss called for an urgent sitting of the state assembly to once again adopt a bill against NEET and send it to the governor.

Describing Ravi returning the bill as 'unfortunate,' he said it was 'unacceptable that the governor has opined it is against the interests of rural and economically poor students."

"His decision is against social justice," he said in a series of tweets.

Communist Party of India state secretary R Mutharasan also hit out at the governor's decision, and said it was against the feelings of the people of the state.

NEET has been inimical to the interests of the students of Tamil Nadu ever since it was introduced, he said in a statement.

"To ensure the welfare of the students of Tamil Nadu and social justice, the state government should once again send the bill to the governor," he added.

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Source: PTI  -  Edited By: Senjo M R© Copyright 2022 PTI. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PTI content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent.