Tamil Nadu government’s struggle with its longest running demand of exemption from NEET 2017 was overruled by the Supreme Court. SC has directed the state to conduct and complete medical counseling under NEET 2017 within August 24 to September 4. It said that NEET 2017 should be the only basis for admissions.

On 14 August the Centre had agreed to exempt the state from NEET for a year on the condition of being provided with an ordinance stating that the exemption was to help the rural students who are unable to afford expensive medical coaching to get admission in government colleges. The Tamil Nadu government placed its demand based on the fact that 90% students are from the state board and therefore find difficulties in passing NEET which is based completely on CBSE syllabus. However, the Centre’s decision to scrap NEET in the state was not well received. There were huge uncertainties for students who had passed the NEET and completely relied on it to get admission into medical colleges. Senior advocate Nalini Chidambaram represented 6 student candidates against the exemption of NEET 2017. She also said that the Centre had entered into this deal with the state ahead of the presidential elections.

The Tamil Nadu government sent the ordinance twice. It was cleared by both the law and Human Resource Development ministries but when it came to Health ministry, it was sent back to attorney general KK Venugopal with some additional arguments and past judgment of the apex court on the issue. Because of these newly added arguments and judgments, the A-G changed his earlier opinion to saying that the ordinance was not goofed for a law.

The Health ministry’s contention against the exemption was fear of the collapse of the reform of NEET being compulsory for all medical and dental admission as one grant of exemption might lead to other demands for the same.

NEET exemption has been a very sensitive issue in the state. Former Chief Minister, J Jayalalitha had also made several attempts towards state exemption of NEET. However, the Tamil Nadu lost the battle of NEET exemption in favor of it.