Why was T.N. kept in the dark on NEET Bills’ return, HC asks govt.
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Why was T.N. kept in the dark on NEET Bills’ return, HC asks govt.

By The Hindu calender  02-Aug-2019

Why was T.N. kept in the dark on NEET Bills’ return, HC asks govt.

The State government found itself in a tight spot on Thursday, with the Madras High Court seeking to know why it had kept the people and the Legislative Assembly in the dark for nearly two years about the Centre having returned the two Bills it had passed, seeking exemption for the State from the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET), after the President withheld his assent to them in September 2017.
Justices S. Manikumar and Subramonium Prasad raised the query while hearing a batch of public interest litigation petitions filed two years ago, seeking a direction to the government to obtain Presidential assent at the earliest to the Tamil Nadu Admission to MBBS and BDS Courses Bill and the Tamil Nadu Admission to Post Graduate Courses in Medicine and Dentistry Bill, passed unanimously by the Assembly on February 1, 2017. “I don’t think the Law Secretary of the State can feign ignorance about the return of the Bills, especially when it was he who had written to the Union Ministry of Home Affairs on October 25, 2017, seeking [to know the] reasons for the President having withheld assent. You cannot also claim that such an important issue was not taken to the notice of the Minister concerned,” the senior judge said and directed the government to answer the question by August 13.
Earlier, senior counsel R. Viduthalai, representing the PIL petitioners, contended that the President was duty-bound to disclose reasons for having withheld his assent to the Bills, so that the State legislature could rectify defects, if any, and resend the Bills for his consent. “Federalism is the bedrock of our Constitution. We cannot accept executive burial of a legislation passed unanimously by a House of elected representatives,” he argued.

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