the Indian Council of Pharmacy, in the week following the judgment of the High Court of Chhattisgarh granting a provisional exemption to colleges of pharmacy, filed a request for special leave before the Supreme Court.
It can be noted that the High Court of Chhattisgarh last week, granted interim relief to a group of colleges that approached him to challenge the 5-year moratorium / ban imposed by the Government of India (GOI) and the Pharmacy Council of India (PCI) on the opening of new colleges of pharmacy in the country for the next 5 years.
Now, PCI’s preferred SLP, is challenging the Chhattisgarh High Court Interim Order ordering PCI to accept, process, and complete the review exercise for requests to open new pharmaceutical institutions (the result being subject to final orders of the Supreme Court).
The unique bench of High Court of Chhattisgarh had adopted provisional orders in written petitions challenging the 5-year ban imposed by the PCI and the GOI on the opening of new pharmaceutical institutions in the country.
The High Court had held that At first glance the petitioners’ claims have come true and the requested interim relief does not really harm the PCI case as they are not required to issue final letters of approval until the court’s final decision.
The colleges had challenged the standstill order imposed by PCI on the grounds that it violated the passage of the 1948 Pharmacy Act, as well as multiple grounds beyond its delegated powers.
Read more about the Chhattisgarh High Court Order here: Chhattisgarh High Court grants interim relief to challenge 5-year moratorium on opening new colleges of pharmacy
It can be noted that recently, the Divisional Chamber of High Court of Karnataka had also quashed the IBO ban order, finding it consistent with the parents’ promulgation of the PCI Law, as also unconstitutional on multiple grounds. Against the said judgment, the PCI appealed to the Supreme Court, but the Supreme Court, which without granting a stay of the judgment fixed the case for final pleadings in January 2022.
The SLP filed by AoR, Mr. Zoheb Hussain alleges that in making the interim order, the High Court practically granted final relief, which could not have been granted at the interim stage until the parties had been finally heard.
The SLP further argues that the standstill order cannot be considered to be absolute in nature, as it is in the nature of a “temporary ban‘intended to verify the gross imbalance between the demand and supply of pharmacy graduates in the country and the needs of the free market.
The PCI also mentioned in the SLP that it relied on statistics and field studies before making an informed decision in consultation with the GOI (Department of Health), and therefore, said decision being based on surveys and statistics cannot be lightly interfered with by the High Court.
The SLP will likely be listed and heard when the Supreme Court reopens after the recess.