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University norms should be synonymous to the PCI Rules and recognition of degrees and diplomas of Pharmacy Education shall be governed by the Pharmacy Act, 1948: Supreme Court

In matter pertaining to university administration, the Supreme Court bench comprising B.R. Gavai J. opined in the matter of VIIT Pharmacy College & Anr. v Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam Technical University & Anr [WP(C) NO.390 OF 2021].; that if a certain college has been permitted by the Pharmacy Council of India (hereinafter referred to as the ‘PCI’) to initiate a course, then the affiliated University norms should take cognizance of the approval and accordingly take measures to conduct the examinations.

The respondent University invited applications for grant of affiliation for the year 2020-21. In response thereto, the petitioners submitted applications in the month of February 2020 seeking affiliation for B. Pharma course for the year 2020-21. The PCI granted its approval to the petitioner VIIT Pharmacy College vide order dated 10th April 2020 for conduct of first year B. Pharma course for the academic year 2020-21 with intake capacity of 100 admissions/students. In the meantime, the respondent State of Uttar Pradesh came up with the policy dated 15th May 2020 for restricting the number of pharmacy colleges to only two per district. The said policy came to be challenged before the High Court of Allahabad in bunch of petitions. The Allahabad High Court vide judgment and order dated 2nd November 2020 set aside the policy dated 15th May 2020, only insofar as the petitioners who had approached the High Court. The petitioner institutions therein were permitted to participate in the counselling being conducted for admission to Bachelors of Pharmacy course for the academic year 2020-21.

It was contented by the petitioners, that in March 2021, though the students of the petitioner colleges were invited to the examination centre, they were not permitted to participate in the exam at the last moment.
The court relied on the judgment of Pharmacy Council of India v. Dr. S.K. Toshiwal Educational Trusts Vidarbha Institute of Pharmacy and Others Etc (2020 SCC OnLine SC 296) wherein it was held that in the field of Pharmacy Education and more particularly so far as the recognition of degrees and diplomas of Pharmacy Education is concerned, the Pharmacy Act, 1948 shall prevail. The norms and regulations set by the PCI and other specified authorities under the Pharmacy Act would have to be followed by the concerned institutions imparting education for degrees and diplomas in Pharmacy.

The Court observed that “Indisputably, in the present case, the PCI has granted approval to both the petitioners vide order dated 10th April 2020, with intake capacity of 100 and 60 admissions/students respectively. Not only that, the petitions filed by the petitioners challenging the policy decision of the State Government dated 15th May 2020, have been allowed by the High Court vide judgment and order dated 9th November 2020. Indisputably, the State Government also vide notification dated 19th March 2021, has granted conditional affiliation.”

The Court held that “In the peculiar facts and circumstances of the case and particularly, taking into consideration, that the averments made on affidavit by the petitioners, are not controverted by the respondent University, we find that the petition deserves to be allowed e respondent University is therefore directed to grant affiliation to the petitioner colleges for the academic year 2020-21 and also permit the students of the petitioner colleges to participate in the special examinations to be organized by the respondent University for the academic year 2020-21 in view of the notification dated 19th March 2021.”

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