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AICTE is not entitled to impose any regulatory measure in connection with the degrees and diplomas o

AICTE Vs. Shri Prince Shivaji Maratha Boarding House’s College of Architecture and Ors.  Civil Appeal No. 364 of 2005.

The Bench comprising of The Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, Justice Deepak Gupta and Justice Aniruddha Bose observed that the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) will not be entitled to impose any regulatory measure in connection with the degrees and diplomas in the subject of architecture.  Along with this appeal, there are six more appeals where leave is granted.

The facts of the case mainly involves the question as to whether the mandate of the Council of Architecture (CoA) Section 3 of ARCHITECTS ACT, 1972 or that of the AICTE Section 3 of ALL INDIA COUNCIL OF TECHNICAL EDUCATION ACT, 1987 would prevail on the question of granting approval and related matters to an institution for conduction architectural education course, if there arise any contradiction in the opinions of the two bodies.  The fact is that both are regulatory bodies constituted by the parliamentary legislation having the power to approve or recognize and thereafter monitor the working of such an institution.

The objective of the CoA is to provide for the registration of Architects and for matters connected therewith and the objective of the AICTE is to provide for a Council with a view to proper planning and coordinated development of the technical education system throughout the country.

The fact is that the appellant AICTE raised an appeal against the judgment of a Division Bench of the Bombay High Court delivered on 8th September 2004.  In the case of Shri Prince Shivaji Maratha Boarding House’s College of Architecture, the CoA on carrying out an inspection of the college in the year 2004 decided to reduce the intake capacity of students from 40 to 30.  It was a joint decision by CoA and AICTE.  The CoA again restored the intake capacity to 40 students but the Director of Technical Education followed the intake capacity as 30 by the standards fixed by the AICTE.  Here arose the problem of which order to be followed.

“Whether the AICTE Act which is a later Act has impliedly repealed the provision of the Architects Act…”  The bench held that the 1972 Act was not impliedly repealed by the 1987 act and quashed the order of AICTE authorities.  This judgment is based on the judgment made in the case of Bharathidasan University and Another Vs. AICTE and Others.

Both the regulatory authorities under the respective statutes have the power to frame regulations for giving effect to the provisions of the respective Acts.  The Power to make rules in respect of certain areas covered by the statutes has been vested in the Central Government both under the 1972 Act and the 1987 Act.  All the powers are mentioned in the statute which almost resembles the same.

By the reports submitted by both the counsels, it is found that both the statutes have provisions for approval and monitoring of architecture courses run by institutions.  But the powers overlap at the aspect of setting norms for architectural education and for monitoring the institutions engaged in imparting architectural education.

Mr. Pandey the Learned counsel of  AICTE was focused on the fact that the 1987 Act being a later statute, covering the common field, the provisions of the 1972 Act, to the extent the same deals with architectural education, shall be deemed to have been repealed by implication.  His further submission was that the power of AICTE under the 1987 Act has already been upheld by this court in the case of State of Tamil Nadu and Others Vs. Adhiyaman Educational Research Institute and others.

In counter of the above submission Dr. Dhavan the learned counsel of CoA stated that since 1972 statute specifically deals with architectural education along with certain other areas pertaining to regulating the profession of architects, the provisions of the said Act ought to prevail over the provisions of the 1987 Act.  This Statute, according to him is “ architect” and “architectural education”.  He mainly relied on the case of Bharathidasan University, in support of his argument that so far as education in Architecture is concerned, the 1972 Act ought to survive and not eclipsed by the 1987 legislation.  He also establishes the predominance on the ground that the 1972 Act is a special Act and AICTEs stand on the other hand is that the 1987 Act had come to the statute book on a later date.

In the case of M/s. Mathra Parshad and Sons Vs. State of Punjab and Others it was stated that in the absence of express provision no repeal can be implied unless the two statutes cannot stand together.

The CoA under the 1972 Act plays a key role in the process of recognition.  It has wide monitoring power under Section 18 and 19 of the Act.  Section 17 of the 1972 Act is armed with a non-obstante clause.  The scheme of the Act demonstrates the lack of recognized qualification under the 1972 Act would in substance disentitle a person from being registered as an architect.  As this is the statutory mandate, CoA‘s role in the process of recognition of qualification of an architect cannot be said to have been obliterated by the 1987 Act.

It is a fact that the 1987 Act is primarily concerned with setting up and running of a technical institution and not with regulating the professions of individuals qualifying from such institutions.  But 1972 Act conducts a course on architectural education and regulates the profession of architect and are statutorily linked with each other.

Another point that differentiates the intervention of both the act is that the CoA is not the ultimate decision-making authority but it is a central government in relation to the process of recognition of degree.  Such a decision is required to be taken after consultation with the CoA which becomes critical to it.  Where else the approval power of AICTE is direct.  Any report submitted by the CoA would be the Central Government’s decision and the latter will be an authority superior to both the Councils constituted under the 2 statutes.

Therefore the court opined that,

In respect of the provisions of Section 2(g) of the 1987 Act, the definition of “technical education” would have to be given such a construction and the word “architecture” should be treated to have been inapplicable in cases where the AICTE imports its regulatory framework for institutions undertaking technical education.  One of the main purposes of the 1972 act is recognition of qualifications on architecture.  The 1972 act cannot be held that it is repealed by the implication for the sole reason of inclusion of the word “architecture” in the definition of technical education.  AICTE has failed to discharge its onus to establish the said provisions of the 1972 Act were repealed by implication.

Therefore the court made its judgment that the regulating power of Degree/Diploma in architecture education lays in the hands of the Council of Architecture Under The 1972 Act.  Other orders passed in these appeals shall be dissolved.

– Akshayan

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