The Madras High Court upheld the validity of the panel that was constituted by the State government and held that such a constitution does not contravene the orders of the Supreme Court or that it does not undermine the authority of the Centre in regulating NEET.
Background of the Case
A nine-member committee headed by a retired High Court judge, Justice Thiru. A.K. Rajan was constituted by the Tamil Nadu government (DMK) to study the impact of the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET) on the socially disadvantaged students of the State. A petition was filed by Tamil Nadu BJP General Secretary, Karu Nagarajan, challenging the constitution of the committee and praying for the quashing of the notification on the ground that the committee was “unconstitutional, illegal, unfair and without legal justification.”
Contentions of the Petitioner
It was submitted by the petitioner that the State had constituted the committee only to subvert the procedure that governs admission into medical educational institutions in the State. Various decisions of the Supreme Court were also relied on by the petitioner, where it was held that only the Centre could set standards for higher education and that the State has no power in this regard. Hence, the committee was constituted in contravention of the decisions of the Supreme Court. Additionally, the Centre told the Madras High Court that the committee was “neither requisite nor valid.” The affidavit filed by the Centre also stated that medical education was governed by the provisions of the National Medical Commission Act, 2019.
Observations of the High Court
The Bench constituted by Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy observed that
“setting up of the commission does not amount to subverting any process of admission, far less an act of defiance to any order passed by the Supreme Court or even the remotest challenge to the authority of the Central government.”
The Court stated that the elected Government has the constitutional freedom to set up such committees. Additionally, the Court stated that
“no interference would be required as long as the State government does not do anything to upset the procedure for admission to medical institutions.”
The Madras High Court upheld the validity of the committee and dismissed the petition challenging the constitution of the committee by stating that the setting up of the panel does not affect the conduct of NEET examinations or the authority of the designated body.