The Tamil Nadu government's plans for one-year exemption from the NEET system of selection of candidates for medical courses for the current year fell through on Tuesday with the Centre telling the Supreme Court that no ordinance was coming on the issue.
Attorney General K.K. Venugopal told an apex court bench that the Tamil Nadu government's ordinance exempting the state students from NEET system has not got clearance.
Following the AG's remarks, a bench headed by Justice Dipak Misra asked Tamil Nadu to complete the counselling process for admission in undergraduate medical courses by September 4.
The Supreme Court asked the Tamil Nadu government to initiate counselling for admissions for MBBS and BDS seats on the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) merit list.
The court's direction came after the Centre told the bench that it was not in favour of the recent ordinance passed by Tamil Nadu government to exempt it from the NEET this year.
The court was hearing a plea filed by six students seeking a direction to the State government to conduct counselling for the medical seats solely on the basis of the merit list prepared on the basis of NEET marks.
Nalini Chidambaram, counsel for students in favour of the NEET system, said the state government has no alternative but to complete the admissions by the deadline set by the apex court. "Only full stop. There are no commas," she told the media outside the Supreme Court when asked whether the state could try any other relief.
As opposition parties in the state gunned for the AIADMK government, accusing it of failure, Lok Sabha Deputy Speaker
M. Thambidurai, a senior AIADMK leader, said he would not blame the Centre for the fiasco.
"We follow Jayalalithaa's policy of being cordial with the Centre which is also cordial with the state government. The problem arose because the issue came to the Supreme Court," he said.
Last week, the Tamil Nadu government submitted a draft of the ordinance giving one-year exemption for the state students to the Centre for clearance.
Initially, the Union Home and Law Ministries had reportedly cleared the ordinance. But when the Health Ministry sought the Attorney General's view with some fresh facts, the top law officer is believed to have told the government that it will not stand scrutiny in the Supreme Court.