The Supreme Court on Tuesday has asked the Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam Technical University (AKTU) to file its reply in a petition filed by Sri Sai RR Institute of Pharmacy seeking directions to the University to Comply with the notification issued by the State Government and to grant affiliation and to permit its students to appear in the special examinations to be organised for B. Pharma students of academic year 2020-21.
A Bench of Justice Hemant Gupta and Justice V. Balasubramanian heard the plea of Sri Sai RR Institute of Pharmacy and listed the matter after 2 weeks, wherein it pleaded that government should adhere to their notification dated 19.03.2021, it directed Dr APJ Abdul Kalam Technical University to grant affiliation to all those colleges, which had approached the High Court.
Amitesh Kumar, the counsel for the respondent, submitted before the Bench that no schedule has been notified for Ist Semester Examination and sought some time for filing the counter-affidavit.
Senior Advocate Siddharth Dave argued that notice has already been issued in the matter i.e. on 15th April 2021 and made submissions before the apex court that his writ petition seeking stay of order was dismissed by this Court, to the contrary the writ petitions filed by several similar situated colleges which sought stay of order dated 7.12.2020, this court had allowed their writ petition by staying the order dated 7.12.2020.
Sri Sai RR Institute of Pharmacy has preferred writ of mandamus seeking direction Dr APJ Abdul Kalam University to comply with the notification dated 19.03.2021 issued by the State Government thereby granting affiliation and permitting B.Pharma students of Sai RR Institute of Pharmacy College to appear in the special examinations to be organized for B. Pharma students of academic year 2020-21 in view of notification dated 19.03.2021. A batch of writ petitions are also pending before the apex court involving similar situated pharmacy colleges in Uttar Pradesh (Writ Petition (c ) no. 1430/2020, being the leading petition).
The sole pre-requisite to take the benefit of notification dated 19.03.2021 issued by State Government, was to obtain order from the High court, regardless of the fact that Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam university itself has granted benefit of such notification to other colleges who approached the High Court along with Petitioner, Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam University continues to deny benefits to Sai RR Institute of Pharmacy in pursuant to Government notification.
The brief facts of the case are that Sai RR Institute of Pharmacy College obtained approval of the Pharmacy Council of India (“PCI”) on 10.04.2020 to operate B. Pharma. course for Academic Year 2020-21. Thereafter, the Petitioner college applied to the Respondent University on February 2020 seeking grant of affiliation giving details of all infrastructure and faculty along with paying the prescribed fee. The Respondent University refused to grant affiliation to the Petitioner College on the ground of a state policy which was introduced in May 2020, which arbitrarily reduced the number of pharmacy colleges in a district. The Hon’ble Allahabad High Court, Lucknow Bench struck down the policy vide its order dt. 02.11.2020 and directed the Respondent University to allow the Petitioner college to sit for counselling session.
Consequently, the Petitioner college was granted temporary counselling code and admitted students to its B. Pharma course. Subsequently the Petitioner college admitted students against the Vacant seats and Management quota in accordance with guidelines laid down by the University.
The Respondent University vide its order dt. 07.12.2020 had denied affiliation to Petitioner college and other similarly situated colleges on the sole ground that timelines for grant of affiliation prescribed by AICTE had lapsed.
It is settled law that once statutory regulator has granted approval, the University ought not to withhold grant of affiliation (Jaya Gokul Educational Trust vs. The Commissioner & Secretary, Higher Education, Kerala & Ors).