MK Stalin, BJP
A massive victory of the DMK and allies in the parliamentary polls and defeat of the BJP in the 2024 Lok Sabha polls is the goal, Stalin said | File photo

Tamil Nadu parties agree to resend NEET Exemption Bill to governor

The Tamil Nadu government on Saturday said the state assembly will clear a Bill seeking exemption from the National Entrance cum Eligibility Test (NEET) for medical exams and send it again to the governor for his approval.

Five months after the assembly adopted the Bill, Governor RN Ravi returned it for reconsideration earlier this week.

On Saturday most political parties with representation in the House unanimously resolved to send the Bill again to Raj Bhavan to forward it for presidential assent. 

The main opposition AIADMK did not take part in the meeting, chaired by Chief Minister M K Stalin at the Secretariat, but the party said it would support all legal initiatives aimed at getting the test scrapped in Tamil Nadu. The BJP also skipped the meeting.

“In order to uphold the state rights, the NEET Exemption Bill was passed on September 13, 2021, and forwarded to the governor. But the governor did not forward it to the Union government. The chief minister has met with the governor and demanded to take up the Bill to the Union government. All party MPs from the state have met with the President and home minister regarding this issue. After all these, the governor has kept the resolution pending for the last five months and returned it. The people of Tamil Nadu will not buy the argument of the governor that the state seeking exemption from the NEET is unnecessary,” said the resolution statement passed in the meeting.

The Federal webinar: ‘Does NEET violate federal spirit of Constitution?’

On Saturday Stalin said the governor had kept the Bill with him for 143 days before finally returning it. A press release from the governor’s office said that after a detailed study, Ravi had found the Bill against the interests of students – especially those from rural and economically disadvantaged backgrounds. He also cited the Supreme Court’s verdict in the CMC Vellore case, which directed Tamil Nadu to allot students for PG admissions to Christian Medical College Vellore for the academic year 2021-22 from the NEET merit list of students belonging to the Christian minority after counselling is conducted by the state selection committee.

Responses to the governor’s comments for returning the bill will be added to the latest assembly resolution.

“It is the demand of eight crore people to give exemption from NEET exam, passed unanimously in the state assembly. I ask you all – representatives of political parties – to give your valuable feedback in today’s all-party meeting,” Stalin said.

Shortly after, the DMK chief said: “I met the governor over the issue. A resolution for exemption was passed at the [all-party] meeting. I also appealed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a virtual meeting when he opened 11 new medical colleges.”

“The CMC Vellore verdict the governor cites is different from the legislative powers of the state legislature,” the CM said.


K Annamalai, the state BJP chief, said although the DMK knew that the Bill would be rejected and returned, the party was trying to play politics.

“Why has the DMK not made it public – the explanation document sent by the governor on rejecting the NEET Exemption Bill? It was the DMK that introduced NEET in 2010, during the UPA regime. When the number of candidates who attempt NEET in Tamil is increasing every year, why is the party trying to prevent opportunities for first-generation students who aspire to become doctors?” he said in a statement.

To this, Health Minister Ma Subramaniam said the government had not received any explanatory document from the governor’s office.

It is claimed that the AIADMK was pressured by the BJP to not take part in the all-party meeting. However, the party’s co-ordinator O Panneerselvam issued a statement saying that it will support the state government in abolishing NEET.

Talking to The Federal, one of the spokespersons of the AIADMK, Kuralar Gopinathan, said the all-party meeting was a drama staged by the DMK.

“During AIADMK regime, we sent a similar Bill to the President and got rejected. The DMK promised in its election campaign that they would do away with NEET. But they are unable to. So in order to shift the blame to the shoulders of the Governor, it is doing all sorts of drama,” he said.

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