Chennai: The Madras High Court has ordered notice to the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) on a petition, which sought a direction for it to cancel the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (Neet) conducted on May 7 and to conduct the Neet by reframing the question papers in all the languages with the same set of questions and choice without any discrimination.
Justice R. Mahadevan, before whom the petition filed by Master Abi Sheik Mohammed represented by his mother, Dr Rohaiyaah Sheik Mohamed, came up for hearing, ordered notice to CBSE and posted to May 24, further hearing of the case.
According to petitioner, the CBSE conducted Neet in all the major languages including Tamil, English and Hindi. Earlier, when the CBSE conducted the common entrance test in Hindi and English, the question paper was common.
This year, when the Neet was conducted, it was expected that the questions would be one and the same and the questions in the regional languages would be a verbatim translation of the questions set in English, to be answered by the candidate in the language of their choice. Her son took up the Neet and answered the questions in the English version of his choice. When he compared the questions contained in the English version to that of Tamil version, he found that the questions were entirely different. The questions contained in the Tamil version of the test were comparatively easy and less time-consuming in the selection of options as compared to that of the questions contained in the English version, she added.
She said she was informed that in the state of Andhra Pradesh, the English and Telugu version of the questions were one and the same, similar was the case with Gujarat and West Bengal, why the same practice was not adopted in Tamil Nadu? This amounts to unjust discrimination in the state of Tamil Nadu, thereby violating Article 14 of the Constitution, she added.
She said the questions contained in the English version were based on CBSE syllabus whereas the questions in Tamil version were based on the state syllabus. Had the authorities stated in the prospectus that such a strategy would be adopted, the candidates like her son who took up higher secondary education in the state syllabus would have naturally opted for answering the questions in the Tamil version, she added.
Activists urge govt to get test exemption
Reiterating their demand for Neet exemption, activists and educationists from the Tamil Nadu urged the state government to renew its attempts to get the exemption from the common medical entrance test.
Speaking at the seminar on the Neet here on Monday Justice Hariparanthaman, the retired judge of Madras high court, said, “Even after four months of the passing the acts in the state assembly, those Acts are yet to reach the President for his assent.”
“The central government didn’t bother about the state’s demand,” he said.
Professor Anil Sadgopal, Presidium member, All India Forum for Right to Education said the Neet exam would put 85 per cent of students at a disadvantage.
He said, “Tamil Nadu state is leading from the front in the Neet struggle. Other states do not have the benefit of social justice movements like it.”
Calling the common medical entrance as one of the provisions of new education policy, he said, “The Central government is silently implementing the provisions of new education policy as there was widespread opposition to it.” Prince Gajendrababu, general secretary, State Platform for Common School System, said, “The present AIADMK government should honour the election promise of their leader and former Chief Minister Jayalalithaa.”
“She had promised the voters that the state government would take strong measures to get an exemption for the state,” he said. Dr N. Lakshmi Narasimhan, president, Service Doctors and Post-Graduates’ Association, said, “The Neet is not an answer for the degradation of medical education.”
He pointed out that Tamil Nadu is one of the states which have a robust public health care system. “Majority of the doctors in the state studied in the state board syllabus. They are equally good compared with any other doctors in the country.”