‘Education an industry…’: SC directs Pharmacy Council to accept applications for new colleges

The Supreme Court on Tuesday directed the Pharmacy Council of India to accept and process the applications of new pharmacy colleges, which moved the high courts of Delhi and Karnataka challenging a moratorium issued by the body.

During the hearing, a bench of Justices B.R. Gavai and Hima Kohli expressed concern at colleges in various fields mushrooming across the country.

“Education is an industry, everybody knows it… there are big business houses,” it said.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the Council, also expressed concern at colleges mushrooming across the country, and cited some colleges were run from shops, which were later closed down.

The bench also pointed out the high cost of medical education in the country. “Due to the high cost of medical education here, students go to countries like Ukraine..,” it said.

As it heard an appeal by the Council against the orders of the two high courts, Mehta contended the moratorium was issued due to the mushrooming of pharmacy colleges, and they were industries rather, in the garb of institutions. Counsel, representing the colleges, argued that they have lost three years due to the moratorium.

Mehta replied that colleges are saying that they have lost three years, and he could understand students saying this, but not colleges which are industries.

The bench, in its order, said: “We direct the Pharmacy Council of India to accept and process the application of the applicants who were petitioners before the high court.”

It added that no final decision should be taken on approval or disapproval till final decision in the matter and scheduled it for further hearing on July 26.

The Delhi High Court had set aside the moratorium issued by the Pharmacy Council on the opening of new pharmacy colleges for five years with effect from the academic year 2020-21. It said that the the Council, in this case, exercised the executive authority in excess and it cannot be sustained.

The high court order came on a batch of 88 writ petitions challenging the moratorium and its exceptions. The petitioners were seeking to establish pharmacy colleges.

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