Chennai: The Home Ministry has informed the Madras High Court that the president has rejected two bills, which were sent to his office in 2017 by the Tamil Nadu government, to exclude the state from the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET).
Counsels for the Union government said they received a communication from the ministry that the bills — the Tamil Nadu Admission to MBBS and BDS Courses Bill, 2017 and the Tamil Nadu Admission to Post Graduate Courses in Medicine and Dentistry — were received on February 20, 2017.
This was stated by the counsels when the division bench, comprising Justices S Manikumar and Subramonium Prasad, sought a clarification on whether the bills were withheld or rejected.
When the plea came up for hearing on Friday, the Union government made the submission that the bills were rejected.
Recording the same, the bench directed the home ministry to file an affidavit by July 16, setting out details of receipt of the bills, in particular the date of rejection, as submitted by counsel of the Union government.
The counsels made the submission on a PIL moved by the Tamil Nadu Students Parents Welfare, seeking direction to the state government to complete the procedures for obtaining the presidential assent for the bills on or before August 15, 2017.
Opposition parties in Tamil Nadu have for long demanded exemption of the state from NEET, especially after three girls committed suicide in June after failing to clear the test.
The DMK has said their party MPs would raise the issue in Parliament, a demand backed by the CPI(M).
While the PMK has contended that there is not a single reason to justify NEET, the MDMK has said that the Centre, by making the exam compulsory, has shattered the dreams of those from poor, backward and scheduled castes who want to study medicine.
The Congress has said that scrapping NEET would be good for the state and that the issue would be raised in Parliament.
However, the BJP state unit has blamed the opposition leaders for going against NEET for "political reasons."