No exemption from NEET in Tamil Nadu

After watching the troubling situation in Tamil Nadu, the Supreme Court has issued an order banning protests and agitations against the National Eligibility Entrance Test (NEET), the result of which could create any law and order situation in Tamil Nadu.

A Bench led by CJI Dipak Misra observed that NEET was upheld as the sole basis for admission to MBBS and BDS courses and any public protests, road blocks and breakdown of normal public life against it would amount to contempt of court.

The court ordered the State Chief Secretary and Home Secretary to ensure that law and order is maintained in the State. It issued notice to both officers.

Issuing notice to the State government, the court underlined that it would be the State’s prerogative and responsibility to prevent violence in the name of NEET in the future. Any political party leader who instigates violence in the name of NEET should be booked under the law and proceeded accordingly, the court directed the State government.

The court ordered the State Advocate General to appear before it on September 18 and explain the apparent failure of law and order authorities to control the protests against NEET following the suicide of a 17-year-old State Board student, S. Anitha, who had approached the Supreme Court against admission via NEET in the State.

The petition, filed by Supreme Court lawyer G.S. Mani, had asked the court to intervene and direct the State government to maintain the law and order situation. The death had led to widespread protests, road blocks by students all over the State.

“The agitations and road blocks create a law and order situation which is very dangerous. The State authority unable to keep the situation under control,” the petition said. The petition further accused political parties of instigating students into violence. It asked the court to “not permit political parties and the public to conduct illegal strike/boycott/human chain/road blocking/rail roko or any other mode of strike against NEET.”

The petition said, the State authorities should come to the aid of State Board students by upgrading the syllabus to make it on par with the CBSE. This would help the State Board students to compete in NEET with their CBSE counterparts on equal terms.

Anitha, who had scored 1,176 out of 1,200 marks in her Class XII State Board examinations was unable to join the MBBS course due to poor scores in NEET. The daughter of a daily wage labourer, hailing from Kuzhumur village near Ariyalur, had impeaded herself as one of the respondents in a Supreme Court case challenging NEET. The court had refused to give Tamil Nadu any exemption from NEET and had directed the authorities to complete counseling by September 7.

Anitha’s death had triggered strong reactions from political parties and social activists who had been seeking exemption for the State from NEET.


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