The Tamil Nadu government on Saturday said a special session of the Legislative Assembly will be convened to pass the state’s Bill granting exemption from the National Entrance cum Eligibility Test and it will be sent to the governor again, NDTV reported.

Assembly Speaker M Appavu announced that the special session would be held at 10 am on February 8, The Hindu reported.

At an all-party meeting convened on Saturday, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin said Governor RN Ravi had kept the Bill with him for 143 days, before sending it back to the Assembly Speaker.

The Bill, which was passed in September, sought to exempt students from taking the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test, or NEET, for admission to undergraduate medical courses in the state. It had proposed admitting students to these courses based on Class 12 examination results.

On Thursday, the governor had returned the Bill saying that it was against the interests of the students, especially those from rural and economically poor backgrounds.

At Saturday’s meeting, Stalin the Bill was adopted in the Assembly to reflect the sentiments of eight crore people, based on the recommendations of a committee headed by Justice AK Rajan. “The governor did not bother to send it to the president for his consent,” said Stalin.

He added that Ravi had failed to perform his constitutional duty by not sending the NEET abolition Bill to the president.

On the governor’s remarks that the Supreme Court had upheld NEET, Stalin said the verdict cited – concerning the Christian Medical College in Vellore – is different from the “legislative powers of the state legislature”, NDTV reported.

The All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam and the Bharatiya Janata Party boycotted Saturday’s meeting. However, Health Minister Ma Subramanian expressed hope that the AIADMK would participate in the special session of the Assembly.

Tamil Nadu’s opposition to NEET

NEET is prepared by the Central Board of Secondary Education and based on its own syllabus, which is different from the Tamil Nadu board’s academic curriculum. Tamil Nadu has been opposing the examination, arguing that a common entrance test would harm the prospects of state board students.

In September, three NEET aspirants had died by suicide in the state, leading to massive outrage. The Bharatiya Janata Party, however, has claimed that the people of Tamil Nadu want NEET, but the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam does not.