From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : NEET Quota row
Mains level : Read the attached story
The CM informed the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly that Governor has forwarded the NEET exemption Bill to the Union Home Ministry to be sent to the President of India for his assent.
What is the TN Bill about?
- The Bill exempts medical aspirants in Tamil Nadu from taking NEET examination for admission to UG degree courses in Indian medicine, dentistry and homeopathy.
- Instead, it seeks to provide admission to such courses on the basis of marks obtained in the qualifying examination, through “Normalization methods”.
- The aim of the Bill is to ensure “social justice, uphold equality and equal opportunity, protect all vulnerable student communities from being discriminated”.
- It seeks to bring vulnerable student communities to the “mainstream of medical and dental education and in turn ensure a robust public health care across the state, particularly the rural areas”.
Why TN is against NEET?
- Non-representative: TN opposes because NEET undermined the diverse societal representation in MBBS and higher medical studies.
- Disfavors the poor: It has favored mainly the affordable and affluent sections of the society and thwarting the dreams of underprivileged social groups.
- Exams for the elite: It considers NEET not a fair or equitable method of admission since it favored the rich and elite sections of society.
- Healthcare concerns: If continued, the rural and urban poor may not be able to pursue medical courses.
Can any state legislate against NEET?
- Admissions to medical courses are traceable to entry 25 of Concurrent List, Schedule VII of the Constitution.
- Therefore, the State can also enact a law regarding admission and amend any Central law on admission procedures.
Why is it going for President’s assent?
- The question is not whether the State government can amend a law falling under the Concurrent List.
- The question is whether the State government can exempt Section 10D of the IMC Act, which is a parliamentary law that falls under the Central List (Entry 66).
- Moreover, the Supreme Court has also upheld NEET as a requirement.
- Mere statistics highlighting that a majority of the stakeholders do not want NEET in Tamil Nadu is not an answer for exempting the examination.
Again, it is State and Centre are at crossroads
- Normally, a Bill requires assent from the Governor to become a law. Stalin’s contention is that this Bill deals with education, which is a Concurrent List subject.
- Admissions to medical courses fall under Entry 25 of List III, Schedule VII of the Constitution, and therefore the state is competent to regulate the same.
- Yet, as far as matters relating to the determination of standards for higher education are concerned, the central government has the power to amend a clause or repeal an Act.
- So, just the passing of the Bill doesn’t enable the students to get exempted from writing NEET.
- Already, Union Higher Education Secretary has held that if any State wants to opt out of the exam, it has to seek permission from the Supreme Court.
Options for Tamil Nadu
- Data is necessary only when there is power to legislate on the subject concerned.
- Since the Bill, which will become an Act only after the President’s nod, will come into effect only from the next academic year, the battle for and against the NEET requirement will continue in courts.
- Hopefully, the courts will determine the legality and have a definite solution to the question of medical admissions within the next year.
- Till such time, students who wrote NEET will fill the seats under the State quota.