In an important judgment, the Aurangabad bench of the Bombay High Court has held that the Indian Nursing Council has no authority to grant recognition to institutes imparting nursing training in a state, also the degrees and diplomas being offered by such institutes which are approved by the state nursing councils will have applicability in the state only.
In other words, candidates obtaining such training from institutes approved by the state council would be eligible to practice within the limits of the state only.
A bench of Justice RM Borde and Justice Vibha Kankanwadi was hearing a writ petition filed by the Private Nursing Schools and Colleges Management Association, which has a membership of over 400 schools and colleges imparting training to nursing students and running private nursing schools and colleges.
The petitioners sought a declaration that the Indian Nursing Council has no authority to grant recognition to the institutions imparting nursing courses such as the Auxiliary Nurse and Midwife course (ANM), General Nursing and Midwifery (GNM), Bachelor of Nursing (BSc), Post Basic Bachelor of Nursing (PBBSc) and Master of Nursing (MSc). The petitioner also prayed for issuance of writ of prohibition restraining the Indian Nursing Council from publishing on its website material indicating that the institutions imparting nursing course have to obtain recognition from it.
According to petitioners, the authority of the Indian Nursing Council is limited to evaluating the standard of education, which includes prescription of appropriate syllabus, norms of training and prescription of appropriate infrastructure for conducting courses etc.
The Indian Nursing Council does not have authority to grant recognition or affiliation and the authority vests with the State Nursing Council under the State Act. The petitioners contended that Indian Nursing Council is indulging in misuse of the powers in violation of the provisions of the Indian Nursing Council Act, 1947.
Whereas, it was argued by the INC that the state has no powers to legislate on the subject of education and as such, reliance placed by petitioners on the State Act in support of their contentions is misconceived. The INC referred to Entry no. 66 of List I of the Seventh Schedule and Entry nos. 25 and 26 of List III of the Concurrent List relating to education, including technical education, medical education and universities subject to provisions of entries 63, 64, 65 and 66 of List I and legal, medical and other professions.
It was contended that the issue relating to the powers of the central statutory authority like Indian Nursing Council stands settled by virtue of decision of the Punjab and Haryana High Court in case of Shiv Shakti Educational Society vs State of Punjab.
It was then submitted by the petitioners that there is a specific provision regarding grant of recognition to training institutes in the Maharashtra Nursing Act, 1966, which is missing in the Central enactment.
Upon examination of all the judgments cited, the court took the view that the judgment of a full bench of Kerala High Court in K Velayudhan Memorial Trust vs State of Kerala and the judgment of the Karnataka High Court in Union of India vs KMJ College of Nursing (Trust) Bangalore and others touch the issue and correctly interpret the provisions of the Indian Nursing Council Act and respective state legislations.
Later, the Supreme Court also upheld the view of the Karnataka High Court which was that the Indian Nursing Council has no authority to grant recognition to the institutions imparting nursing education.
Thus, the court allowed the writ petition and held that the INC did not have authority to grant recognition to the institutions imparting nursing training.
The Indian Nursing Council has now been prohibited from publishing on its website material indicating that the institutions imparting nursing course in Maharashtra shall have to obtain recognition from it.
More importantly, the court said it was imperative for such institutions, imparting training in nursing in Maharashtra, (which have not been approved by the Indian Nursing Council), the state council and Health University to publish on its website that the degrees and diploma awarded by such institutions shall have applicability only in the state and the candidates receiving such degree or diploma would be entitled to practice within the state only.