The Madras High Court on Monday questioned the Tamil Nadu government’s decision to set up a committee to look into the impact of the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test,reported PTI. The High Court asked if it has obtained permission from the Supreme Court.
“Would it [setting up of the panel] not amount to violation of the ruling of the apex court?” the High Court asked.
The High Court was referring to the Supreme Court’s August 22, 2017, order that Tamil Nadu should not “make any distinction or discrimination between the exams conducted by various boards and admission shall be effected as per results of NEET”, reported Bar and Bench. The Supreme Court had also ruled that there can be little room for the state to set up a panel to ascertain if the admission process for the pre-medical test has prejudicially affected socially backward students.
The ruling Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam government had promised in its election manifesto that it will abolish NEET. For this, the government had set up a high-level committee, led by retired High Court Judge AK Rajan, to study the impact of NEET on aspirants from the socially disadvantaged sections in medical admissions.
The High Court was hearing a plea filed by Bharatiya Janata Party state general Secretary K Nagarajan challenging the formation of the nine-member panel.
In his plea, Nagarajan contended that the constitution of the panel was “arbitrary, illegal, unconstitutional and unreasonable” in view of the Supreme Court’s 2017 order. The petitioner said that the Supreme Court had directed the Tamil Nadu government to implement NEET, saying that it was not open to the state suggesting an alternative.
During the hearing on Monday, Advocate V Raghavachari, appearing for Nagarajan, argued Tamil Nadu cannot resonate a different voice against the Supreme Court’s order.
On this, Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee orally observed that since the Supreme Court has issued directions for the implementation of NEET, it was “completely futile” to set up a committee to study the impact of the examination.
Advocate General R Shunmugasundaram, appearing for the state government, told the High Court that the formation of the committee was a policy decision with regard to its election promise to protect the interest of the poor students in rural areas.
“May be. But if it is contrary to the Supreme Court order, then it cannot be permitted,” the bench said.
Shunmugasundaram then sought more time to respond to the matter. At this, the High Court issued notices to the state and the central governments and granted Shunmugasundaram a week’s time to respond.
The case will be heard on July 5 next.