Tamil Nadu Health Minister Ma Subramanian on Sunday said that Governor RN Ravi does not have on role in approving the state’s bill against the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test, or NEET, reported PTI.
The NEET is a qualifying test for undergraduate courses in medical and dental colleges across India. It is conducted by the National Testing Agency.
In September 2021, the Tamil Nadu Assembly had passed a bill introduced by the Dravida Munnetra seeking to exempt students in the state from NEET. The bill proposed that admission of students to medical courses be carried out based on Class 12 examination results.
Tamil Nadu has been opposing the examination on the grounds that the entrance test, based on a Central Board of Secondary Education syllabus harms the prospects of state board students who follow a different curriculum.
However, Ravi had not grant assent to the bill, and the act ceased to become a law. The Tamil Nadu Assembly then adopted the bill again in February 2022. The bill then went to President Droupadi Murmu since education is a subject on the concurrent list of the Constitution.
On Saturday, Ravi had said that he would never clear the bill if it were up to him saying that the exam was “going to stay in the country”, reported The Hindu. Ravi was speaking at a felicitation event for students from Tamil Nadu who had secured high marks in this year’s NEET.
When asked about giving assent to the bill by father of one of the students Ravi said: “I am telling you very frankly. I will never give clearance to NEET [exemption bill].”
Responding to Ravi’s comments Subramaniun on Sunday said that the president’s office has sent the bill to the Union Ministry of Home Affairs, which in turn has sought clarification from the Tamil Nadu government.
“Now, assuming that the president gives her assent for the bill, the governor’s office would get an intimation, not permission,” Subramaniun told reporters on Sunday, reported The Hindu. “Hence, the governor has no more role to play in the bill.”
The MK Stalin-led government in the state has been at loggerheads with the Tamil Nadu governor over a number of matters.
Last month, Stalin had written to Murmu deeming Ravi unfit for the post, alleging that he functioned as a political opponent and looked for opportunities to topple the state government. Stalin added that Ravi could be regarded as a “mere agent of the Union government”.
The chief minister accused Ravi of placing hurdles in the functioning of the state government by delaying his assent to bills passed by the Assembly. Stalin had also accused the governor of instigating communal hatred and claimed that he was a threat to peace in Tamil Nadu.