The Supreme Court ruled that the Council of Architecture may prescribe minimum standards of architectural education, either by way of regulations or otherwise.
The respondent which is a society registered under the Tamil Nadu Societies Registration Act, 1975 and which has as its members, 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” circulated by the appellant. The main and perhaps the only ground of challenge to the Regulations was 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.
The appellant took umbrage under Section 21 of the Act. The appellant also questioned the locus standi of the respondent to challenge the impugned communications, since the communications were addressed to institutions teaching Architecture, none of which had come forward to challenge the same.
The division bench of Justice Hemant Gupta and Justice V. Ramasubramanian noted that after the Court ordered notice in the Special Leave Petition, a Notification was published in the Government Gazette, notifying the “Council of Architecture (Minimum Standards of Architectural Education) Regulations, 2020”.
The court said that 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).
The court stated that 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.
The court allowed the appeal and set aside the impugned order of the High Court.
Case title: Council of Architecture v/s The Academic Society of Architects (TASA) & Ors.
Citation: CIVIL APPEAL NO. 1320 of 2022