Students are forced to move to places like Ukraine due to high fees: Supreme Court

New Delhi:

The Supreme Court said on Tuesday that education has become a big industry in the country and students who cannot afford the high fees for medical courses are moving to countries like Ukraine. After the Russian invasion of Ukraine, India had to push hard to evacuate about 20,000 Indian students from the war-torn country. The court was hearing petitions asking the Center to process applications for setting up new pharmacy colleges.

In 2019, the Pharmacy Council of India (PCI) had temporarily banned setting up of new pharmacy colleges for five years to prevent mushrooming of such institutions.

The Center and the PCI had supported the adjournment, while the High Courts of Delhi, Karnataka and Chhattisgarh quashed it. PCI’s appeal against the orders of the High Court is pending in the Supreme Court.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the Center and PCI, said that there are over 2,500 pharmacy colleges. He said, ‘Look at what is happening in the country. The colleges here are telling this Court that they have lost two years [as the adjournment came into force from the academic year 2020-21]. I can understand students taking this argument but these are college industries. Since the number of these colleges are increasing, we put a five-year moratorium on it. This court knows how engineering colleges are being run as shopping centres.

A bench of Justice BR Gavai and Justice Hima Kohli concurred with Mehta. Said, ‘We also appreciate the rapid growth of colleges. But it allowed the request of pharmacy colleges to be processed till the court considers the PCI’s challenge to the orders of the High Courts quashing the moratorium.’

The bench directed the PCI to accept and process the applications of the colleges which were petitioners before the high courts. Said, ‘…but no final decision will be taken on approval or non-approval.’ The court has issued a notice on the petitions of pharmacy colleges seeking fresh permission to start the college before the start of admission next month.


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