MK Stalin, TN Governor, not sent NEET abolition bill to president

“Unprecedented situation” created by the Governor, who had not sent NEET abolition Bill to President, says TN CM Stalin

The CM was addressing an all-party meeting convened by the State government in Chennai on Saturday; he said the Bill reflected the sentiments of 8 crore people in the State.

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M.K. Stalin on Saturday charged that Governor R.N. Ravi had failed to perform the duty vested in him by the Constitution, when it came to deciding on the Bill adopted in the state Legislative Assembly against the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET).

Addressing leaders of multiple political parties, which have a representation in the Assembly, at the Secretariat, he said the meeting was convened to discuss the “unprecedented situation” created by the Governor, who had returned the Bill before the President could make a decision. [The Governor had returned the Bill to the Assembly Speaker instead of forwarding it for Presidential assent.]

Referring to the Governor’s argument that the Supreme Court had upheld NEET, the Chief Minister said the Bill was adopted by the Assembly that had powers to enact laws “to reflect the aspirations of eight crore people”.

“It is directly connected with the sovereignty of the Tamil Nadu Assembly. We sought an approval from the President since the [SC] judgment and the power of the Assembly are two different issues,” he explained.

Mr. Stalin recalled that after the then DMK government in 2006 had passed a Bill for the abolition of entrance tests for admissions to professional courses on the basis of the recommendations of late academic M. Anandakrishnan, the Governor and President gave their consent in 86 days. He said the then Union Human Resources Development Ministry and Higher Education Ministry, while recommending the State government’s law against entrance examinations, had said it stood the scrutiny of the Constitution.

“They also said that cancelling the entrance examination would not affect the quality of higher education and the Plus Two examination was conducted in a transparent manner. They also made it clear that there was no objection to each State following its own honest and transparent admission policy,” he recalled. Mr. Stalin said the Union Health Ministry also approved of it and only after that the President granted assent for the law aimed at abolishing entrance tests in 2006.

The CM pointed out that the Madras High Court also upheld the Act, saying it was a social welfare legislation to meet social justice. “We admitted students in medical and engineering colleges based on marks scored in Plus Two (class 12) examinations for 10 years,” Mr Stalin pointed out.

He said the Bill to dispense with NEET-based admissions for undergraduate medical degree courses was adopted in the Assembly, on September 10 last year, on the basis of the recommendations of Justice A.K. Rajan committee and sent to the Governor. “The Governor should have forwarded to the President for his approval. But he failed in his Constitutional duty. I met him on November 27 and requested him to send it to the President. Subsequently, senior Minister Duraimurugan also met him and pressed the issue on December 17,” he said.

Mr. Stalin said an all-party meeting was held on January 8 and a resolution passed, since efforts to meet the Union Home Minister failed to materialise.

“I reminded Prime Minister Narendra Modi about the Bill seeking exemption from NEET when he inaugurated 11 medical colleges in Tamil Nadu. DMK Parliamentary party leader T.R. Baalu subsequently also met Union Home Minister Amit Shah in connection with the issue,” he pointed out.

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