A Division Bench of the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court comprising of Justice M Duraisamy and Justice K Muralishankar has issued notice on a PIL seeking direction to restrain leaders of the ruling party, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) among others, from making false promises regarding scrapping of NEET examination in the state. The Bench has directed the State of Tamil Nadu to file its reply to the PIL.
The Petitioner has also sought compensation of Rs. 1 crore each for families of the students who ended their life due to fear of the exam and Rs. 5 lakh to every student who is psychologically affected due to the failure of the government to cancel the exam as promised.
The PIL filed by K.S.Vetrivel claims that due to false promises given by the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu and DMK leaders, the students remained confused about the NEET examination and did not prepare for it this year. Later, the announcement of NEET this year led to the suicide of three medical aspirants and a number of students faced mental stress.
"Three students took an extreme step by taking their own lives for which the present Government and the members of DMK party are solely responsible," the plea states.
As per the Petitioner, the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu and other leaders of the ruling party "in order to secure more votes by false promise have been assuring the people of the State that once the DMK led Government is formed, they would ensure a total ban on the conduct of NEET examination and would formulate a separate State Education Policy". However, that in July, there was a sudden change of stand when the Health Minister announced that students will have to take their NEET lessons.
The Petitioner has relied on a recent judgment of the Delhi High Court in the case of Najma v. Government of NCT, Delhi and has pleaded that the promise made by the Chief Minister in public is enforceable and creates a legitimate expectation in the minds of the public.
Thus, "it is the bounden duty of these high ranking functionaries or Ministers, MP's and MLA's to make realistic and truthful promises and not make fallacious and impossible promises that too at the cost of affecting young children who are yet to understand the implications," states the Petitioner.
It is mentioned in the plea that despite a judgment by the Constitutional Bench of the Apex Court in the case of Medical Council of India vs Christian Medical College, Vellore, upholding the validity of the NEET examination, the Tamilnadu Chief Minister and an MLA have been assuring the people of the State that the NEET examination would be scrapped.
"Despite knowing the fact that the validity of NEET is upheld by the Supreme Court, the present Chief Minister constituted an expert committee to study the impact of NEET among the society and the Education Minister also publicly announced that the present Government is very keen in scrapping the NEET examination," it is stated in the plea.
"These statements as well the act of the Government by making false promises created widespread confusion as well as a legitimate expectation among the students that NEET would not be conducted for the present year. As a result of this, many students concentrated on getting better marks in their +2 Examinations alone and did not prepare well for NEET," adds the Petitioner in the plea.
The plea mentions that the students would have rigorously prepared for the NEET exam if the government had not made false promises. But the students are put under extreme stress due to the utterances regarding scrapping of the exam. It is stated in the Petition that the first incident of suicide was reported when one student named Anitha.S ended her life since she could not succeed in the Supreme Court against the NEET. It is stated that subsequently, a dozen students have committed suicide due to the NEET difficulty.
It is demanded that the Government of Tamil Nadu must stop making false promises for political gain and should provide appropriate guidance, as well as more coaching centers must be established across the State to provide free coaching to the students. The Petitioner demands that the Government should make clear the real status of the NEET examination in the State and make arrangements for students to prepare for NEET, apart from creating awareness against committing suicide.