A special session of the Tamil Nadu Assembly on Tuesday ‘unanimously’ re-adopted a Bill that seeks to dispense with NEET for admission to undergraduate medical courses in the State. The Bill, previously adopted last September, was recently returned by Governor R.N. Ravi.
Moving the Bill in the House, Chief Minister M.K. Stalin said, “We have not gathered here only for discussing NEET. We have gathered here to protect the integrity and the rights of the Tamil Nadu legislature. The philosophy of cooperative federalism is to protect the many communities, languages and cultures. We have gathered here to protect cooperative federalism.”
Except the four members of the BJP, who staged a walkout from the House, opposing the Tamil Nadu government’s decision, all political parties, including the principal Opposition party, the AIADMK, supported the Bill moved by Mr. Stalin.
Since all legislators present during the voice vote supported the Bill, Speaker M. Appavu declared that it had been adopted unanimously.
This is the first time that the House has re-adopted a Bill returned by the Governor.
The earlier Bill, titled ‘Tamil Nadu Admission to Undergraduate Medical Degree Courses Bill, 2021’, was adopted by the Assembly on September 13 last year, when Governor Banwarilal Purohit was in office. Mr. Ravi was sworn-in Governor on September 18.
During the special session, which commenced in the Assembly Hall at Fort St. George at 10 a.m., the Speaker expressed his displeasure over the release in the public domain of the operative portion of the contents of the Governor’s letter returning the Bill to him [Raj Bhavan had issued a press release on the issue]. He questioned the time taken [by the Governor] for making a decision on a Bill that was adopted unanimously.
Health Minister Ma. Subramanian read out the reasons given by the Governor for returning the Bill and provided the government’s responses to each of them.
Last week, the Governor returned the previous Bill, contending that the legislation was against the interests of students, especially those from rural areas and economically weaker sections.
In February 2017, a similar Bill against NEET was adopted by the House during the AIADMK regime. But a few months later, President Ram Nath Kovind withheld his assent to the Bill.