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Tila Institute of Pharmaceutical Science vs. Union of India and Ors. - (High Court of Delhi) (24 Dec 2022)

At the stage of show cause, the person proceeded against must be told about the charges against him



The Petitioner is an existing college in the State which was granted approval by the respondent-Pharmacy Council of India (PCI) to undertake admissions for 60 seats of D.Pharm course with effect from academic session 2019-2020.

The only ground of challenge is that the notice under Section 13 of the Pharmacy Act, 1948, insofar as it advices the Petitioner not to make admissions to its D. Pharm course with effect from 2022-23 academic session, shows the pre-determined mind of the Respondents to withdraw the approval granted to the Petitioner and the passing of the subsequent order was a mere formality.

At the stage of show cause, the person proceeded against must be told the charges against him so that he can take his defence and prove his innocence. At that stage, the authority issuing the charge-sheet, cannot, instead of telling him the charges, confront him with definite conclusions of his alleged guilt. If that is done, as has been done in this instant case, the entire proceeding initiated by the show- cause notice gets vitiated by unfairness and bias and the subsequent proceedings become an idle ceremony.

While reading a show- cause notice the person who is subject to it must get an impression that he will get an effective opportunity to rebut the allegations contained in the show-cause notice and prove his innocence. If on a reasonable reading of a show-cause notice, a person of ordinary prudence gets the feeling that his reply to the show-cause notice will be an empty ceremony and he will merely knock his head against the impenetrable wall of prejudged opinion, such a show-cause notice does not commence a fair procedure especially when it is issued in a quasi-judicial proceeding under a statutory regulation which promises to give the person proceeded against a reasonable opportunity of defence.

While issuing a show-cause notice, the authorities must take care to manifestly keep an open mind as they are to act fairly in adjudging the guilt or otherwise of the person proceeded against and specially when he has the power to take a punitive step against the person after giving him a show-cause notice. The impugned show-cause notice and the subsequent order passed by the Respondent-PCI cannot be sustained.

Consequently, the Respondent-PCI shall issue an order of restoration of recognition and reflect the status of the petitioner as a recognized institution for its D. Pharm course and further the petitioner-institute is also entitled to take part in the on-going counselling and is allowed to admit students for the academic session 2022-23. Petition allowed.


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