Aarti Poddar (name changed on request) completed a five-year-degree programme from the Chandigarh College of Architecture in 2013, but the Council of Architecture (CoA) refused to register her and she could not practice as an architect. The CoA argument was that it had withdrawn its approval for the Chandigarh College of Architecture to run degree programmes in 2008 because of inadequate faculty; therefore, students passing out from 2013 would not be registered as architects. The Chandigarh College of Architecture, one of India’s premier institutes for the past 60 years, is affiliated to Panjab University, Chandigarh.
According to CoA, there are 19 institutes admitting students despite not having CoA approvals. There are about 2000 such students, though unofficial figures could well be about 4000. To help them, the CoA decided to undertake a competency test in which those who scored 45% marks would be eligible for registration. Though the test was conducted, some students with degrees in architecture who did not write the test appealed for and got a stay in the Delhi High Court on declaration of the result.
A request by CoA to the ministry of human resource development (MHRD) to allow it to conduct such tests was rejected on the grounds of there being no statutory provision empowering the council to conduct a competency test. “Persons holding recognised qualification have to be registered as architects,” MHRD had said. The MHRD response is in line with the Punjab and Haryana High Court judgment, according to which, if an institute is affiliated to any university, it doesn’t need any CoA approval to run the course.
“The validity of the degree obtained through the affiliation that an institute secures flows from the University and not on account of any approval granted by the Council,” says the HC.
Now after the HC judgment it has been settled that degrees of institutes which do not have CoA approval but are affiliated to various universities will be recognised qualification for registration with CoA.
“CoA’s process of granting or withdrawing approval has been arbitrary and there are lots of serious allegations against executive committee members. What is significant in the Budha College case is that the Central government favoured the college’s contention,” says DT Vinod Kumar, a CoA member.
“Looking at the Architects Act and the HC judgment, you will find that HC hasn’t given any new interpretation of the Act. It has only read down the provisions of the Architects Act,” adds Kumar.
It’s unfair to victimise hundreds of students. I hope CoA will now obey the High Court order --Kavita Pant, student
I spent Rs. 6 lakh for B Arch in 2013, but I am unable to do a master’s as I am not registered with CoA -- Nitesh Patil , student