On a day Tamil Nadu state Assembly convened for a three day session, suicide of NEET aspirants reverberated across political and judicial spectrums alike.
In Madras High Court, Justice Kirubakaran expressed disappointment at the TN government’s announcement that it will provide solatium to the kin of NEET aspirants who committed suicide.
The judge said it appears as if the government is glorifying suicides. Also politicians and media should act with caution and refrain from activities that can lead to encouraging suicides, he said.
Political parties once again demanded scrapping of NEET, which they believe have deprived rural candidates of their due seats.
DMK president M K Stalin today said that he appealed to pass a resolution in the assembly for students who committed suicide but it was rejected.
In order to protest against NEET, all DMK MLAs were wearing face masks with sloganBan NEET and save Tamil Nadu students.
The single-judge bench, citing a previous order of the Madras HC that had asked the government to take steps to curb suicides due to NEET, allowed advocate Suryaprakasam to file a contempt of court proceeding if warranted.
Justice Kirubakaran made the observation while advocate Suryaprakasam mentioned suicides among NEET aspirants due to pressure and fear of failure in the exam.
The advocate said suicides are unabated since the government has not implemented the order issued in the petition filed by an aspirant named Krithika. He also said that government failed to prevent suicides and the HC should accept a contempt proceeding against the government.
Two years ago, a petition was filed by Krithika regarding NEET and the case came up for hearing in Madras HC. The court had then directed the government to take appropriate action to thwart deaths due to failure in NEET. It asked the government to provide training, and help increase the confidence level of students gearing up for the exam.
Speaking to media persons after the Assembly session, Stalin said many students commit suicide due to NEET exam issue. “There are many issues like NEET, National Education Policy 2020. I don’t know how it’ll be discussed in only two days,” he said.
The principal opposition DMK was set to raise a host of issues including, demanding a resolution seeking to scrap the NEET exams in the state in the wake of four students ending their lives in the last five days, including three on Saturday alone, due to fear over clearing the NEET exams, the National Education Policy2020 and the Centre’s move to impose three-language policy in the State, corona situation, among others.
The DMK would also raise the alleged irregularities in the PM-Kisan scheme, which came to light in several districts, apart from the alleged failure of the government in handling the corona pandemic and the fresh privilege notices issued to Opposition Leader Stalin and 17 of his party MLAs for displaying banned gutkha products in the House in July 2017.
The assembly session which was convened today amid the coronavirus pandemic was adjourned after passing condolence resolutions.
Meanwhile, actor Surya’s statement on NEET stirred controversy. Hours after Surya issued a statement against NEET, calling out the courts, the media and the government, Justice SM Subramaniam of the Madras HC wrote to Chief Justice AP Sahi, to initiate contempt proceedings against the actor.
Justice Subramaniam contended that Surya’s statement undermined and badly criticised the integrity and devotion of the judges and judicial system of the country.
In his statement Surya said, “A government, which is supposed to create equal opportunities for everyone, brings in a law with an education system that creates inequality.” He added that, “Education policies are formulated by those who do not know the ground realities of students from the poor and the downtrodden sections.”
In his statement he also took on judiciary saying, “Courts, which are delivering justice through video-conferencing due to life-threatening coronavirus fears, are ordering students to fearlessly go and write the exams. The news of ‘student suicide due to exam fear’ becomes a debated topic on most media outlets just for that day. Chanakyas, who find spelling mistakes even in the suicide notes left behind by the students who have died, will engage in ‘heated debates’ over them.”
Six retired judges have written to Chief Justice Sahi, urging the court not to take up contempt proceedings against actor Suriya over his letter.