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Justice N Kirubakaran lambasts ‘glorification of suicides’ and payments of competitive solatium over NEET in TN

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Narasimhan Vijayaraghavan
Narasimhan Vijayaraghavan
The author is practicing advocate in the Madras High Court

At long last, it would appear that a judge of the Madras High Court, Justice N Kirubkaran, has made bold to come down heavily on the Media, particularly the vernacular one, both electronic and print and the politicians for heartlessly glorifying the suicides of young children, seemingly seeking to meet the maker scared of clearing NEET exams, to become a medical Doctor. The Judge has said in strong language that this trend of paying competitive solatium to the families of the dead must stop, as it  suggestively may be eulogizing the unfortunate acts of these innocent children.

Tamil Nadu, Tamil Media and Tamil Nadu politicians of all hues have been notorious for far too long ‘to fan the flames of this dangerous game’ as Cho Ramasamy, the legendary Editor of Thuklak called it. Whenever the workers of  the Dravidian parties immolated themselves or on occasions such as this, when young children sadly ended their lives, the politicians tom tommed it, to extract maximum political mileage, purportedly shedding tears, which is the saddest part of each of these happenings. No party has risen above this despicable conduct.

The learned judge deserves commendation for calling the bluff of the so called Oodangangal which indulge in ideological food fights of the cacophonous kind, houting into our drawing rooms, across the channels on our idiot box, for their self-serving causes. The Judge is justified in  the acerbic choice of language for the Media and politicians  are not seen to be empathetic to the losses suffered by the families. If they were, they would not make a song and dance of it, but be seen to be counseling the families or quietly helping them to overcome the grief  or devising plans as the late Prof. P V Indiresan, Madras IIT, conceived and kept shouting from roof tops, which no one cared to listen.

It is singularly unfortunate that NEET which has come to stay, has become an issue to beat the ruling dispensations, be it at the State or the Centre, totally, totally ignoring or avoiding the reality. Truth is that that both State of TN with AIADMK and Centre, with BJP at the helm, may be happy to give a  NEAT burial to NEET. And mind you, they have been unable to see its demise not for want of trying, but for the steadfast perseverance from the top court, to see that NEET did not go.

How did NEET come about? Who can forget the controversial manner in which NEET was sent packing when the late Chief Justice Altamas Kabir wrote the controversial lead judgment, with a brother judge on July,19,2013, (and which judgment was leaked before its pronouncement on the very date of  his retirement, as alluded to in a  brilliant piece by then advocate and now Senior Advocate Gopal Sankaranarayanan in Bar & Bench). The 35 page dissent of Justice Anil R.Dave, stood out like the famous H R Khanna dissent in ADM Jabalpur, for its honesty and integrity. And the Supreme Court entertained a review petition, recalled the 2013 verdict, and referred the matter for rehearing and rest as they is history.

The Supreme Court is fully alive and aware of the collusive and conspiratorial tendencies of the educational institutions with deep pockets, and the vested interest of the political class in many such institutions. The apex court was keen and willing to take the sledgehammer approach to ensure that NEET became a reality, in the larger interest of nation. Medicine is too critical a course for national health and well-being and merit could never be sacrificed and NEET was one way of giving it the priority it was crying for.

It was the Supreme Court that whipped NEET  as a Pan India phenomenon. Attempts were made by several States to stymie it but Supreme Court was not buying it. Tamil Nadu kept beseeching the Modi 1.0 and a resolution was also passed in the State Assembly. Modi 1.0 obliged with an Ordinance only to be nixed by the top court. Let us be very clear on the legal and constitutional plane, which alone matters and not the political or sociological.

NEET is a Supreme Court mandated reform. It is backed by the supremacy of the judiciary, as an institution and power of the Constitution under Art.141 as law of the land. The apex court has expressed the larger purpose behind NEET on more than one occasion and unless the politicians are dumb, deaf and mute, they should and would be aware of it. They would not care because it does not suit their political agendas. But, if they had the least bit of concern for the lives of the young children they should stop this glorification of the suicides as Justice N Kirubakaran has said, in painful anguish.

It is most unfortunate that gullible rustic population in the rural and semi urban areas are falling for the media and politicians’ propaganda that NEET needs to go. And when Tamil Nadu, notorious for its politics and cinema mix, gets a few stars to join in, it can be deadly. The families of the children may genuinely believe that the politicians are responsible for the NEET regime and that if they got together as one, it will go.

Sorry, it is a totally false premise/promise. Tomorrow, if the TN Assembly were to meet there could and would be a unanimous resolution urging the demolition of NEET. That would be easy with no possible dissent. Or our representatives may even go beyond and enact a law giving the boot to NEET. Or it is possible even in the monsoon session of Parliament. It must be a piece of cake, to pass such a resolution condemning NEET or enacting a law to delegalise NEET. That is not the point.

The reality is that any such resolution or law from the TN Assembly or from any other State or from Parliament will not matter. Any such law would be unconstitutional in the wake of settled NEET dispensation whose case has been argued not once but many, many times and all arguments against it dumped into the dustbin of history. But the Media and politicians refuse to see the truth and reality and continue the fan the flames leading to avoidable loss of lives of young children.

It is particularly galling to see it all play out in TN, the way it is. Even today political parties are vying with one another offering to legislate against NEET. They cannot. They know it. But they would not admit it. For the gullible voter needs to be led  up the garden path. It needs to stop. It does not behove the ‘glorious tamil culture’ as the media and the politicians’ always display on their sleeves,  to glorify such suicides and pay solatium too, which has opposite and  adverse impact on the gullible and uniformed. No, they cannot get rid of NEET, for the ruling dispensations in TN & Centre, may come and go,  the law as laid down by the Supreme Court is here to stay and NEET is not going anywhere, now or ever. For, it is meant to serve the bigger and larger national cause and not parochial interests the Media and political class in Tamil Nadu, are hell bent on inflicting on us We The People.    

(Narasimhan Vijayaraghavan- Author is practicing advocate in the Madras High Court)

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Narasimhan Vijayaraghavan
Narasimhan Vijayaraghavan
The author is practicing advocate in the Madras High Court
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