The Supremacy of Pharmacy Act in Regulating Pharmacy Education

In a recent legal development, the High Court reaffirmed the pivotal role of the Pharmacy Act in regulating pharmacy education. This decision highlights the authority of the Pharmacy Council of India in setting and enforcing minimum education standards for individuals aspiring to become pharmacists. By emphasizing the significance of the Pharmacy Act in governing pharmacy education, the court clarifies the responsibilities and powers of the Pharmacy Council of India in ensuring the quality and integrity of the pharmacy profession.


  • High Courts allowed colleges to continue with increased intake approved by AICTE.
  • Some interim orders made absolute by High Courts.
  • Issue is applicability of Pharmacy Act or AICTE Act in relation to Pharmacy education.
  • PCI argues AICTE is not supreme authority over PCI.

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  • The Pharmacy Act has constituted the PCI as the sole body empowered to regulate pharmacy education and profession in India.
  • The PCI prescribes minimum standards of education and approves courses of study for pharmacists.
  • The field of Pharmacy is fully occupied by the provisions of the Pharmacy Act, including education standards, course approval, and registration of professionals.
  • The PCI is mandated to oversee the education standards, approval of courses, and evaluation of examinations for pharmacy professionals.
  • The AICTE Act was not created to dilute the autonomy of other statutory bodies like the PCI.
  • The approval of PCI for conducting pharmacy courses is mandatory for awarding degrees that allow practice as a pharmacist.
  • The PCI is empowered to grant approval to institutions conducting pharmacist courses.
  • The Pharmacy Act prevails over general laws like the AICTE Act in regulating pharmacy education institutions.
  • The PCI plays a vital role in regulating entry into the pharmacy profession by approving qualifying courses and examinations.
  • PCI also enforces qualifications necessary to practice as a pharmacist, including approving educational institutions offering such courses.

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  • The issue in the present cases is not res integra and is covered by the decision in AICTE v. Shri Prince Shivaji Maratha Boarding House’s College of Architecture (2019).
  • The scope of powers of AICTE and the legislative intent behind the AICTE Act were explained in Bharathidasan University v. All-India Council for Technical Education (2001).
  • Section 10 of the Pharmacy Act gives the PCI authority to establish Education Regulations setting out the minimum education standards for becoming a pharmacist.
  • Section 36 permits the removal of individuals from the register permanently or temporarily.
  • The PCI has established various regulations under the Pharmacy Act, including Education Regulations, 1991, Pharm. D. Regulations, 2008, and others.
  • Section 16 allows authorities conducting pharmacy examinations in a state to seek approval from the PCI.
  • Students who complete approved courses and exams can be registered as pharmacists under certain conditions.
  • Education Regulations outlined in Section 10(2) may include study requirements, equipment needs, examination subjects, and admission criteria.
  • The power to approve study courses and exams is detailed in Section 12 of the Pharmacy Act.
  • Section 29 pertains to the creation and upkeep of a pharmacist register, while Section 35 addresses adding additional qualifications to a pharmacist’s registration.
  • The Executive Committee can appoint inspectors to assess institutions offering approved courses or seeking approval for courses or exams.
  • Special laws prevail over general laws
  • Principle of generalia specialibus non derogant applies
  • Exception where earlier special law prevails over later general law
  • Examples of other specialized regulatory bodies in India
  • Pharmacy Act is a special law for regulating pharmacy
  • Legislative intent of Pharmacy Act is to ensure seamless regulation of the profession

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Case Number: T.C.(C) No.-000213-000227 / 2020

Click here to read/download original judgement

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