A special Assembly session of Tamil Nadu Assembly on Tuesday unanimously re-adopted the anti-NEET Bill, which Governor R N Ravi had last week returned to the government.
Ravi’s decision to return the Bill, which seeks to dispense with NEET for admission to undergraduate medical degree courses in the state, was considered confrontational by the state government, as he had disagreed with the Bill and remarks of a state-appointed expert committee about NEET, which is backed by the Union government.
By re-adopting the Bill, and sending it again to the Governor, the Raj Bhavan is expected to forward it to the President for his assent.
At Tuesday’s special Assembly session, Chief Minister M K Stalin moved the Bill and Speaker M Appavu declared it adopted unanimously following a voice vote of support from all members, including those from main opposition AIADMK.
The previous AIADMK government had also passed two similar pieces of legislation in this regard. They were sent back by the President in September 2017.
The latest Bill was returned by Governor Ravi last week, without sending it to the President, citing that it was “against interests of students, especially (those from) rural and economically poor students of the state”.
Ruling DMK and its allies criticised the Governor’s stand. The AIADMK extended full support to the Bill, even though its MLAs stayed away from critical remarks against the Governor. Members of BJP, part of the AIADMK-led alliance, staged a walkout before the Bill was moved in the Assembly.
Speaking on the Bill and the Governor’s views, Stalin said Ravi had failed to discharge his Constitutional duty by returning it. He called it an attack on Constitutional values. “It was against the interests of the state; it was an attack on the state powers,” said Stalin, expressing concerns at Ravi’s decision to challenge a collective decision taken by ruling and opposition parties in the House.
“A Governor challenging the decisions of an elected government is nothing but a move against democracy itself, isn’t it,” Stalin asked. “If this is how things work in an elected democracy, why should people cast their vote? This is the situation that is leading to the re-adoption of this Bill. I hope the Governor will forward it to the President soon.”
When Speaker Appavu read out objections raised by Ravi for returning the Bill, Health Minister M Subramanian denied the points of objections. He said the state-appointed Justice A K Rajan Committee, formed to look into the impact of NEET in medical admissions, had gone into every aspect of the issue and submitted its reports and recommendations to the government only after considering people’s views.