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Pharmacy Council Alone Has Jurisdiction In The Field Of Pharmacy Education, Not AICTE: SC [Read Judgment]

Ashok Kini
9 March 2020 11:36 AM GMT
Pharmacy Council Alone Has Jurisdiction In The Field Of Pharmacy Education, Not AICTE: SC [Read Judgment]
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"The fight of supremacy between both the regulators is unhealthy for the education sector as well as the institutions to permit two regulators to function in the same field."
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The Supreme Court has held that the Pharmacy Council of India shall alone have the Jurisdiction in the field of pharmacy, and not the All India Council for Technical Education.

The bench comprising Justices Arun Mishra, Vineet Saran and MR Shah observed 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 Court was considering the petitions filed by Pharmacy Council of India in which the issue was regarding the applicability of the Pharmacy Act, 1948 or the All India Council of Technical Education Act, 1987 in relation to the subject of Pharmacy, including approval of courses of study, minimum standards of education required for qualification as a Pharmacist, registration as a Pharmacist, regulation of future professional conduct etc. The contention on the part of AICTE was that the AICTE Act is subsequent law and in the definition of "technical education" contained in Section 2(g), it includes "pharmacy" also, therefore, being a subsequent law, the same shall prevail as there will be a implied repeal of the Pharmacy Act. It was further contended that, in terms of Article 372 of the Constitution, the 1987 Act to the extent it covers the same field as covered by the existing law i.e. 1948 Act, will prevail and the provisions of the 1948 Act to that extent stand repealed/altered.

Rejecting this contention, the bench observed thus:

"The Pharmacy Act is a Special Act in the field of pharmacy and it is a complete code in itself in the field of pharmacy, the Pharmacy Act shall prevail over the AICTE Act which, as observed hereinabove, is a general statute dealing with technical education/institutions. Therefore, the submission on behalf of AICTE and/or concerned educational institutions that the AICTE Act is a subsequent law and in the definition of "technical education" it includes the "pharmacy" and therefore it can be said to be an "implied repeal", cannot be accepted. At his stage, it is required to be noted that as such in the AICTE Act there is no specific repeal of the Pharmacy Act, more particularly when, as observed hereinabove, the Pharmacy Act is a Special Act and the subsequent enactment of AICTE Act is general and therefore the Pharmacy Act being a Special Act must prevail. Apart from that, with regard to several aspects, there is no provision made in AICTE Act which are exclusively within the domain of PCI. Thus, it cannot be accepted that there is 'implied repeal' of the Pharmacy Act."

The Court also criticized the fight between two central authorities, like in the present case. It said:

Both, the PCI and AICTE are the creature of the statute. Therefore, it is not at all healthy that the two regulators, both being Central authorities, can be permitted to fight for supremacy. The fight of supremacy between both the regulators is unhealthy for the education sector as well as the institutions to permit two regulators to function in the same field.

The Court also noted a recent decision in AICTE v. Shri Prince Shivaji Maratha Boarding House's College of Architecture (2019) 16 SCALE 421 wherein it was held that insofar as recognition of degrees and diplomas of architecture education is concerned, the Architecture Act, 1972 would prevail and that AICTE shall not be entitled to impose any regulatory measure in connection with the degrees and diplomas in the subject of architecture.

Regarding the application of Article 362, the bench noted that unless a pre-constitutional statute is specifically repealed it continues to remain in operation. The bench finally held as follows:

It is 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, including the norms and regulations with respect to increase and/or decrease in intake capacity of the students and the decisions of the PCI shall only be followed by the institutions imparting degrees and diplomas in Pharmacy 
Case Name: The Pharmacy Council of India vs. Dr. S.K. Toshniwal Educational Trusts Vidarbha Institute of Pharmacy a
Case No.: TRANSFER PETITIONS (CIVIL) NOS. 87-101 OF 2014
Coram: Justice Arun Mishra, Vineet Saran and MR Shah
Counsel: Sr. Adv Maninder Singh, Adv Harish Panday, ASG Pinki Anand

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