‘NEET denies social justice, favors elite students’: Justice A K Rajan

Retired Justice A K Rajan, who gave his Report on the NEET examination (mandatory medical entrance test) based on which the Tamil Nadu government passed a bill, and asked for scrapping of the NEET and to have Plus Two marks based medical admission said the system of NEET favors the elite students, and it’s against students studying in Tamil medium schools and also from rural areas.

A committee led by retired justice AK Rajan has study the impact of medical examination NEET. They found that NEET favours only the rich and the elite sections. The Tamil Nadu government had recently passed a bill to exempt the state from controversial exam and make medical admission based on class XII marks. Sam Daniel from NDTV’s spoke to retired Justice AK Rajan on his findings and questions of social justice.

In an interview with the NDTV, Justice Rajan said, NEET is anti-poor and anti-rural people. It only helps affluents, and those who can afford to sacrifice two years of study sacrifice money for two years. It only helps affluents. There is no limit to the number of attempts to appear. And there’s no age limit, and you can appear at any age. In North India, after retirement from government service, one person passed NEET and joined Medical College. “Do we want such people to become a doctor after 60 years? What will be the use to the general public.”

When asked upon NEET is now available in Tamil in all major vernacular languages, Justice Rajan said, “Even if it is there, whether it is in Tamil or English, it doesn’t make a difference. First of all, why should that be another test? The government of Tamil Nadu runs its testing path or the government of each state. If we don’t believe them, then we cannot believe in any other government. It is not a private institution that passes the certificate; it is the government that gives a certificate that you are eligible to pursue further and higher. After passing the plus two examinations, is it not sufficient? Why should there be another test by some other authority?”

Shouldn’t we prepare them better instead OF scrapping NEET?

The justice said that the question of preparing is itself is unnecessary. We are standing on the basic question. Why should there be another test at all? So then abolish plus two bring everybody those who can write NEET and, even after 15 years let them write NEET and pass through you can have the examination, why we should have a plus two?

The basic requirement two for writing NEET is a minimum mark is 50% for plus two. And those who are unable to get high marks and get into the NEET, the affluent society, go to private colleges. In private colleges, the basic minimum cutoff mark is being reduced periodically from time to time. So the data shows a person who got just 22% of marks in NEET and in another case 18.5% marks got admitted in some private medical colleges after paying a large sum of money. So, there it is only the money, how much money you are going to pay. With fewer marks and more money, you can get into medical college. Not everyone is like that, but there are a few instances, Retired justice said.

NEET affects social justice

In the interview, asked upon how NEET affects social justice, Mr. Rajan said, that everybody is not equal, equal in the sense; opportunities are different. It is only the opportunity that makes a man, unless you get the opportunity cannot achieve anything. So even to get to achieve something, you must get opportunities. So the opportunity for the rural area people comes only after going into the medical college. You stop them before going into medical college, thereby preventing the entire health system itself, affecting it’ll affect the health system that has been followed in Tamil Nadu.”

Social justice does not mean only this fit for that the minimum or the prerequisite is they must pass NEET. Thousands in rural areas are capable of studying after getting good marks in plus two; they are not able to pass NEET. So only after passing NEET, you’re ensuring reservation. But reservation or social justice does not mean only to the affluents or advanced area people; even rural people must come up. The outcome is your only urban people come to the medical college and rural people are not coming into medical colleges into this stream, is it not affecting social justice? He asked.

“Getting higher marks in plus two is different from getting higher marks in NEET. That’s the whole problem. You must test a student on the subject he studied. You cannot test a student on a subject he did not study and say you are unfit,” he added.

Mr. Rajan said the Supreme Court data does not prohibit the grant of exemption because we are asking for the exemption for the NMC act National Medical Coomssion. Only for this sector we are asking for an exemption. We are not asking for the exemption of Supreme Court judgment because when the Act came into force, under section 142 of the constitution is no more valid. No more holds the field, so we are bound by that law until parliament passes in enactment. No more binding because the law has taken place.”

Do you think in the course of time there could be similar demand for exemption from IITs as well right exams?

Likely, yes, what is wrong with that? Nothing wrong with that, Justice Rajan said but IAS, IPS, Civil services are is different field services because it is employment. We are not questioning the conduct of testing the examination for a job. We are questioning only the competitive examination, which lacks the need to enter into educational institutions. That is a different aspect altogether.

Shouldn’t Tamil Nadu focus on improving the quality of school education instead of claiming exemption from NEET?

Justice Rajan said that claiming exemption and improving standards is different. The standard was already improved in 2006 or 2007 when the DMV government was there. They introduced ‘Samacheer Kalbi,’ which was an excellent syllabus according to the education experts. But some people with western interest deliberately propagated that Samacheer Kalbi is not good and is below standard. The newspapers, media supported and published it, and everybody thought the system was not good, but that was not the fact. The educationist also endorsed that Samacheer Kalbi was very good.

The number of students from government schools, getting selected for medical admission through NEET has increased, so your argument for exemption no longer holds this, he added.

Retired Justice said that according to data, most government school students who have got the number have increased now, and 98% are all repeaters. Only 1 or 2% are fresh candidates. When you visit any medical college, you see the first-year students and see their age. That will be completely different from what it was originally in the earlier before NEET. So now those repeated twice or thrice, only they come to the first year.

Therefore thinking capacity has been reduced for the past two years; they don’t study anything else except NEET subjects, he said. So the thinking process has been curtailed and blocked. The older people are now occupying the first-year group. Due to the reservation of 7.5%, only repeaters got into the medical colleges. 90% 98%, you will see with time, except for repeaters, first-generation students will not be entered into Medical College, he added.

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