Published: 31st May 2022
SC directs Pharmacy Council of India to process applications of new pharmacy colleges
The SC was hearing petitions against a Delhi High Court order that set aside a five-year restriction on the opening of new pharmacy colleges
The Supreme Court, on May 31, ordered the Pharmacy Council of India (PCI) to accept and process the petitions of new pharmacy institutions that had challenged the statutory body's moratorium in the Delhi and Karnataka High Courts.
The apex court expressed concern about the proliferation of pharmacy colleges in the country, saying that education has now become an industry with large corporate companies. The apex court said, "Because of the high cost of medical education here, students from India were required to go to Ukraine. It is much cheaper there."
While hearing an appeal filed by the Pharmacy Council of India against the orders of the two high courts, a vacation bench comprising justices BR Gavai and Hima Kohli made the statement.
The Bench, while posting the matter for hearing on July 26, said, "By way of ad-interim orders, we direct the Pharmacy Council of India to accept and process the application of the applicants who were petitioners before the high court and no final decision be taken on approval or disapproval till final decision."
According to a PTI report, the Pharmacy Council's Solicitor General Tushar Mehta said that the ban was imposed due to the proliferation of pharmacy colleges, which he described as "industries disguised as universities". The colleges' legal counsel indicated that the moratorium had cost them three years. Responding to this, Mehta said, "The objectionable part is that colleges are saying they lost three years. I can understand students saying so but not colleges, which are industries."
The Supreme Court was hearing petitions against a Delhi High Court order that set aside a five-year restriction on the opening of new pharmacy colleges, effective 2020-21. The high court had stated that a statutory body must trace its jurisdiction back to a statutory provision and that PCI's exercise of executive authority in this case was beyond its authority and, hence, could not be sustained.
A total of 88 writ petitions contesting the moratorium and its exceptions were dismissed. The petitioners were entities that claimed to be desirous of establishing pharmacy colleges and therefore, needed prior approval of the PCI. The moratorium did not apply to government institutions, institutions in the north-eastern region and the states or union territories where the number of DPharm and BPharm institutions is less than 50.