GS Paper 2
Topics Covered: Parliament and State Legislatures – structure, functioning, conduct of business, powers & privileges and issues arising out of these.
Context: The Tamil Nadu Assembly has passed a Bill to dispense with the National Entrance cum Eligibility Test (NEET).
Why the bill to scrap NEET?
The Assembly has passed this Bill based on the recommendation of the high-level committee led by retired judge AK Rajan.
- The bill will allow admission to medical courses based on Class 12 marks to “ensure social justice”.
- The state assembly says the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test is not a fair or equitable method of admission since it favoured the rich and elite sections of society who can afford coaching.
The National Eligibility Entrance Test (NEET), formerly the All India Pre-Medical Test (AIPMT), is the qualifying test for MBBS and BDS programmes in Indian medical and dental colleges. It is conducted by the National Testing Agency (NTA).
Arguments against NEET:
- NEET ‘undermined the diverse societal representation’ in MBBS and higher medical studies, favouring mainly the affluent class.
- Social groups most affected were the students of Tamil medium, having a rural background of government schools, those having a parental income of less than Rs 2.5 lakh per annum.
- If NEET continued, the health care system of the state would be severely affected and there may not be enough doctors for Primary Health Centres or state-run hospitals.
- Since it challenges a central law, it cannot come into force until and unless approved by the President of India.
Can states refuse to implement Central laws?
- Usually, when a state wants to amend a Central law made under one of the items in the concurrent list, it needs the clearance of the Centre.
- When a state law contradicts a Central law on the same subject, the law passed by Parliament prevails.
Why has the Constitution envisaged such an arrangement?
This is an arrangement envisaged as most Parliament laws apply to the whole of India and states amending the Central laws indiscriminately could lead to inconsistencies in different regions on the application of the same law. In matters of trade and commerce, this could especially pose serious problems.
The other options available with the states are:
To take the Centre to the Supreme Court over the validity of these laws.
- Article 131 of the Constitution provides exclusive jurisdiction to the Supreme Court to adjudicate matters between the states and the Centre.
- Article 254 (2) of the Constitution empowers state governments to pass legislations which negate the Central acts in the matters enumerated under the Concurrent List.
- A state legislation passed under Article 254 (2) requires the assent of the President of India.
Education, including technical education, medical education and universities, subject to the provisions of entries 63, 64, 65 and 66 of List I; vocational and technical training of labour. Know more about 7th Schedule here.
- Articles 131 and 254(2).
- Overview of 7th Schedule of the Indian Constitution.
- What happens when a State’s law contravenes centre’s law?
The three agriculture laws passed by the Centre recently are a clear infringement on the states’ right to legislate. Discuss.
Sources: Indian Express.