The Supreme Court of India held that in the matters related to the education of pharmacy includes the intake of students in this stream of education; the Pharmacy Act of 1948 would assume the primacy. The decision was made by the bench consisting of Justices Arun Misra, Vineet Saran and M.R. Shah, they held that “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 concerning 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.”
Moreover, this decision made by the bench would not affect those students who have already admitted to the increased intake capacity. The Council shall give the consequential benefit of registration to students as directed by the Supreme Court of India and the matter was related to the row over restrictions which were imposed by the Pharmaceutical Council of India (PCI) over intake of students in various courses of Pharmacy. The Council had rejected the increased capacity of students but AICTE or All India Council of Technical Education gave their approval and permission to colleges. There were many decision made by various High Courts in India which ruled that AICTE is supreme authority between the two bodies, namely, AICTE and PCI, the authority of AICTE will prevail over PCI. Therefore, this appeal was filed by the Council against the ruling made by the various High Courts. In this backdrop, the issue before the Supreme Court was regarding which Act would prevail, i.e. the Pharmacy Act, 1948 or the AICTE Act, in matters concerning Pharmacy education – 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. In other words, the question was, “which body, i.e. AICTE or PCI would primarily be responsible for the regulation of pharmaceutical regulation in India.”
“the statutory scheme contained in the Pharmacy Act, which is a complete code by itself dealing with the subject of pharmacy, the jurisdiction for regulating the standards of education in the subject of pharmacy and subsequent professional conduct of pharmacists vests entirely in the PCI and AICTE does not have any jurisdiction or power in this behalf”, argued by Senior Advocate, Maninder Singh representing the Appellant.
(i) It was noted by the Supreme Court that the Pharmacy law is special.
(ii) The enactment of the Act to ensure that there was “seamless regulation of the profession”.
(iii) Consequently, the AICTE Act can be said to be a general law applicable to the technical institutions and technical education”, the Court said.
(iv) The bench cited the case of LIC vs. DJ Bahadur to decide on the conflict between the two.
(v) Since PCI consisted of experts in the field of pharmacy, it was in the larger interest that the PCI was given the power to regulate in the field of pharmacy.
Edited by J. Madonna Jephi
Approved & Published – Sakshi Raje
- Bar & Bench, Supreme Court rules that Pharmacy Act prevails over AICTE Act in matters of Pharmacy education https://www.barandbench.com/news/litigation/special-legislation-to-prevail-over-a-general-one-sc-on-the-primacy-of-the-pharmacy-act-over-aicte-act