Madras HC sees no objection in committee formed by Tamil Nadu government to study impact of NEET


Chennai: The Madras High Court on Tuesday (July 13) dismissed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by BJP, against the constitution of a 9-member committee led by retired Justice AK Rajan to study the impact of NEET (National Eligibility cum Entrance Test) on medical aspirants.

Filed by K Nagarajan, BJP State Secretary, the plea was seen as a tug of war between the party and the state government led by DMK.

A bench comprising Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy rejected the PIL saying that a mere constitution of a committee could not be seen as an act of defiance to the Supreme Court order on NEET Exam.

It added that the committee does not pose even the remotest challenge to the constitutional right of the central government to fix standards for higher education.

The judges stated that the Committee was intended to start a discussion based on their findings and take it to a higher level to show the ill-effects of NEET. They noted that it doesn’t interfere, impinge upon or touch upon any Supreme Court order regarding the conduct of NEET exam for medical entrance. The Court also raised the matter that the committee had not submitted its report within the one-month time given to it.

The plea had called the 9-member AK Rajan Committee unconstitutional, illegal, unfair and unreasonable. It wanted the court to restrain the committee from proceeding further. It said that as per the 2017 Supreme Court ruling, the Tamil Nadu government was required to implement NEET exam for medical entrance.

During a hearing of this plea last month, the court questioned the state government whether it had sought or obtained the permission of the Supreme Court in this matter, as forming such a committee could be against the Supreme Court’s orders.

Back then, appearing on behalf of the state government, Advocate General Shanmugasundaram submitted that the committee formation was a policy decision taken by the government. He added that it was also backed by the DMK manifesto and the people’s demand.

Responding to this, the bench of Justices Sanjib Banerjee and Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy had said “Maybe, but if it is contrary to the Supreme Court order, then it cannot be permitted”.

It was the ruling DMK’s election promise to abolish NEET if voted to power. DMK President MK Stalin had said that a law would be passed in the state assembly to abolish NEET, following which the Indian President’s assent would be sought.

However, after having been elected to power, DMK leaders have been asking students from Tamil Nadu to prepare for the NEET exam, which is scheduled to take place in September this year.

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