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Council Of Architecture Can Prescribe Minimum Standards Of Architectural Education Without Approval Of Central Govt : Supreme Court

LIVELAW NEWS NETWORK
17 Feb 2022 4:58 AM GMT
Council Of Architecture Can Prescribe Minimum Standards Of Architectural Education Without Approval Of Central Govt : Supreme Court
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The Supreme Court observed that the Council of Architecture may prescribe minimum standards of architectural education, either by way of regulations issued under Section 45(2) of the Architects Act or even otherwise. It is only in cases where the Council chooses to prescribe standards in the form of regulations that the requirement of approval of the Central Government under...

The Supreme Court observed that the Council of Architecture may prescribe minimum standards of architectural education, either by way of regulations issued under Section 45(2) of the Architects Act or even otherwise.

It is only in cases where the Council chooses to prescribe standards in the form of regulations that the requirement of approval of the Central Government under Section 45(1) would become necessary, the bench comprising Justices Hemant Gupta and V. Ramasubramanian said.

The "Minimum Standards of Architectural Education Regulations, 2017" circulated by the Council of Architecture was challenged before the Madras High Court on the ground that the Regulations required the prior approval of the Central Government under Section 45 of The Architects Act, 1972 before they are implemented and that no such prior approval was obtained before issuing the impugned communications. Taking a view that Section 21 cannot be read in isolation and that the provisions of Section 45 are mandatory, the High Court allowed the writ petition and quashed the impugned communications.

During the pendency of special leave petition before the Apex Court, the "Council of Architecture (Minimum Standards of Architectural Education) Regulations, 2020" were notified. However, the bench proceeded to consider the inter­play between Section 21 and Section 45 of the Act.

Referring to various provisions of the Act, the bench observed thus:

Section 22(1) confers power upon the Council of Architecture to prescribe standards of professional conduct and a code of ethics, only by way of regulations, though Section 45(2)(i) takes care of the procedural requirement. But Section 21 which confers substantive power upon the Council to prescribe minimum standards of architectural education, is not couched in the same language as Section 22(1). In other words, Section 21 does not contain a stipulation that, "the Council may by regulation prescribe minimum standards of architectural education". The words "may by regulation", found in Section 22, are conspicuous by their absence in Section 21. This is a clear indication of the fact, (i) that the Council is empowered to prescribe minimum standards of architectural education, not necessarily by taking recourse to Section 45(2); and (ii) that if at all, such minimum standards are issued otherwise than through Regulations, they should not be in conflict with those found in the Regulations... It is thus clear from the scheme of the Act that the Council of Architecture may prescribe minimum standards of architectural education, either by way of regulations issued under Section 45(2) or even otherwise. It is only in cases where the Council chooses to prescribe standards in the form of regulations that the requirement of approval of the Central Government under Section 45(1) would become necessary.

The court further noted that the communications impugned in the writ petition were addressed to the institutions imparting architectural education and none of them ever chose to challenge the communications. "If at all, the writ petitioner society, due to the nature of its membership, could have been aggrieved only by the prescriptions affecting the teaching faculty.  It could not have challenged the prescriptions with which they are not in any way concerned", the bench said.

Allowing the appeal filed by the Council of Architecture, the Supreme Court set aside the Madras High Court judgment.

"The High Court addressed itself merely to the question of the requirement of approval of the Central Government under Section 45(1) and did not go into the question of locus standi of the 1st respondent. The High Court even overlooked the fact that none of the educational institutions imparting architectural education ever chose to challenge the  communications impugned before the High Court", the Supreme Court noted.


Case name: Council Of Architecture vs Academic Society Of Architects (TASA)

Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (SC) 172

Coram: Justices Hemant Gupta and V. Ramasubramanian

Case no.|date: CA 1320 of 2022 | 14 Feb 2022

Counsel: Sr. Adv Naveen R. Nath for appellant

Headnotes:

Architects Act, 1972 - Section 21, 45 - Minimum Standards of Architectural Education Regulations, 2017 - The Council of Architecture may prescribe minimum standards of architectural education, either by way of regulations issued under Section 45(2) or even otherwise. It is only in cases where the Council chooses to prescribe standards in the form of regulations that the requirement of approval of the Central Government under Section 45(1) would become necessary. (Para 15)

Constitution of India, 1950- Article 226 - Writ Petition - Locus Standi - Registered Society of Professional Architects who claim to be teaching faculty in institutions imparting education in Architecture, filed a writ petition on the file of the High Court of Judicature at Madras, praying for quashing the "Minimum Standards of Architectural Education Regulations, 2017- High Court quashed the Regulations - Allowing the appeal, the Supreme Court while setting aside the High Court judgment observed: Due to the nature of its membership, the society could have been aggrieved only by the prescriptions affecting the teaching faculty. It could not have challenged the prescriptions with which they are not in any way concerned. (Para 19)

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