July 9, 2021 10:15:41 am
The Centre on Thursday told the Madras High Court that a panel constituted by the Tamil Nadu government on the National Entrance cum Eligibility Test (NEET) has no jurisdiction to go into the issue.
The ruling DMK had last month constituted the panel, headed by retired high court judge AK Rajan, to analyse if NEET had an adverse impact on students from backward classes and if so, the committee would recommend remedial measures to the government.
In its reply-affidavit to a petition by BJP state general secretary K Nagarajan, which sought to quash the state government order constituting the panel, the Centre said a conjoint reading of the relevant provisions of the Constitution makes it abundantly clear the executive power of the State to set up such a commission is restricted to subjects within its legislative competence.
It is limited in respect of subjects enshrined under List III of the Constitution. In respect of the same, such power of the State is subject to any law made by the Parliament upon the Union or authorities thereof, it said.
This qualification was enacted to ensure that the Commission would be looking into affairs over which the appropriate government could actually act upon and thus would ensure that the constitution of the committee is not an act in futility.
The terms of the commission set up by the state government relates to a matter falling under List 1 Entry 66 and therefore, the Commission so constituted is without jurisdiction, the counter claimed.
The Supreme Court had already upheld the validity of NEET against the anvil of the equality code contained in the Constitution.
It was held without a pale of doubt that the conduct of NEET examinations is not in contravention to Article 14 nor against the socio-economic polity of the country.
In spite of the same, the term of reference of the committee seeks to question whether NEET is an equitable method of selection.
This particular term of reference is not qualified as the same had been settled by the Supreme Court. This reference is not only a slight against the status and privilege of the top court but is also an exercise in futility as the law declared by it is binding on all functionaries by virtue of the Constitution, Centre said.
The field of medical education was regulated statutorily under the Central legislation– the National Medical Commission, 2019 Act.
Accordingly, nothing inconsistent can stand legally.
The state cannot constitute a high level committee to study the impact of NEET on medical admissions, the counter added.
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