About 35 brilliant architecture students face an uncertain future as they wait to get registered with the Council of Architecture (CoA) after completing a five-year bachelor of architecture course (a mandatory requirement for those who want to practice as architects). Among them, Pavneet Pal Singh from the Chandigarh College of Architecture (CCA) in June 2014, had scored 91%.
The students are victims of a standoff between CoA and CCA over an inspection in 2009-2010. The CoA alleges that CCA had denied its request for inspection in 2009, and when a surprise check was conducted in 2012 it was found CCA had failed to maintain minimum standards to run architecture programmes. CoA approval was then withdrawn for the five-year CCA BArch course being run since 2009. CCA was also listed in the no-admission category on the CoA website for the (2009-14) academic session.
CCA had then shot off a strongly-worded letter to Ashok Thakur, the then secretary, department of higher education, MHRD. Pradeep Kumar Bhagat, principal, CCA, alleged that “CoA is blatantly allowing increase in students intake at first-year level in fledgling private colleges of architecture which have been started less than 10 years ago… Rather than (being) concerned about the quality of education and the facilities in these private institutions, the council... is choosing to target a 53-year-old government institution imparting quality architectural education for last five decades.”
A three-member panel set up by CoA again inspected CCA in 2014 and found it deficient in fulfilling CoA norms.
Meanwhile, HT Education, on October 1, 2014, reported the judgement delivered by the Punjab and Haryana High Court (HC), stating that CoA did not have the powers to withdraw or grant approvals and could only recommend withdrawal of approval to the HRD ministry.
The ministry then wrote a letter to CoA on November 11, 2014, stating, “the Architects Act of 1972 doesn’t empower CoA to issue such alerts (non-approval) and put colleges under such category (no admission).” Rajesh Singh, director (T), MHRD wrote, “You are requested to remove the remarks of no-admission from 2014-2015 against the name of Chandigarh College of Architecture.” In another letter dated November 19, 2014, Singh wrote to the CoA president Uday Gadkari and held that CoA’s surprise inspection in 2012 and 2014 to CCA was illegal.
The Council of Architecture (CoA) on December 12, 2014, wrote to CCA regarding the extension of approval for the academic session of 2014-15. CoA still remains silent on the issue of granting enrollment numbers to students who were admitted to CCA in 2009 and passed out in 2014.