Sent by E-Mail and signed one by India Post for Record purpose
Prof. R. RAMARAJU
Director & Head,
Designed Environment Academy & Research Institute (DEAR INSTITUTE),
Thirupainjili Road, Pandiyapuram,
Tiruchirappalli District, Tamilnadu – 621 213.
The Secretary to the Government
The Vice President
e-mail: [email protected],
Sub: Illegal levies of Charges / Fees by CoA on Architectural Institutions – Urging to withdraw them - reg.
There is no power granted to the Council of Architecture (CoA) to levy any fee or charge under any Section of the Architects Act 1972 or under any Rule framed thereunder. Under the Principles of Governance, ‘Rule of Law’, for whatever the purpose it may be, any Financial Levy by Statutory Authority like CoA cannot be proposed without a power granted under its Law and cannot be enforced procedurally without due approval of the Central Government and due official Gazette Notification. Contrary to all these principles and practices, the CoA is not only exceeding in the matters of Architecture Institutions beyond its scope but also ‘just like that’ started to taxing them recently with huge amounts under various other headings. Please note this is happening in spite of DHE of MHRD specifically pointed out to CoA to stop such illegal collection of Moneys at least twice during the past.
Though the Central Government (DHE of MHRD) had categorically made their stand clear many times through Affidavits before various High Courts on the excessive functions of CoA in the matters of Architecture Education and Institutions, it is unfortunate and pathetic that due to absence of timely directions and actions, the noble Profession of Architecture in India has been left as ‘Orphan’ going down from poor ugly level to awkward situation. Leaving this basic issue aside, the only point of illegal imposition of financial levies by CoA under various items on Architectural Institutions have been specifically raised herein to immediately stop such illegal levies on Architecture Institutions.
Unfortunately being left as ‘Orphan’, without any annual budgetary allocation from the Central Government all these years from its inception (from the year 1976), the CoA is functioning only with a meagre resource of fund collected as registration fees from Architects. Knowing this pathetic status, Architecture Institutions generously came forward initially to make few thousands of rupees to meet out inspection expenditures without looking into any legalities. Later on, this has been called as Inspection Fees or Charges and then as Application Charges started initially with few thousands of Rupees during the year 2004 and increased to Rs.30,000/- to 35,000/- during the year 2009 and raised further to 50.000/- and then to 1,00,000/- and much more under various classifications; and now reached the level of Rs. 5,00,000/- and even to Rs. 25,00,000/- imposing as interest–free Security Deposits. Further on, penalties too are enforced unlawfully. Above all, the peak of this taxation is at the charge of Rs. 50,000/- just for hearing an Institution by the Executive Committee against the decision of Council on the Applications illegally enforced for in the name of ‘Approval or its Extension’ and further of Rs. 2,00,000/- charged again for making the second Appeal before the Executive Committee. Kindly note that all these amounts are only ‘official levies’.
All these impositions of financial levies/ charges ARE NOT EVEN SEEN in any provisions of the Architects Act 1972 or the Rules framed thereunder and therefore they hold any validity neither by Law nor by any approval of the Central Government. Without any Gazette Notification, all these levies are being enforced ‘just like that’ based on a simple decision taken during a Meeting of Council and mostly by its Executive Committee. The question here is not about the intention or purpose of charging, but about the power of charging and its enforcements.
In order to ensure the ‘Rule of Law’ at the rightful manner, the CoA needs to change its style of functioning to fair governance within the framework of law and definitely should not act as ‘Limited Company’. The CoA needs to refrain from imposing all such illegal levies on Architecture Institutions and withdraw them immediately in order to be fair within the provisions of law. Please note, as all of us well aware, that running an Architectural Institution is generally neither an easy task nor financially viable, but comparatively, it requires lot of passion and patience.
As per prevailing rules, the obligation of CoA is to conduct inspection ONCE IN FIVE YEARS, without any interference on their activities, only to verify standards with reference to the Minimum prescribed / required under the Law at the Architecture Institutions,that are in existence, running and imparting recognised qualification under the Architects Act 1972. The effect of Inspection is only to recommend to Central Government for taking necessary action if there is any deficiency. Please note, under the scheme of Architects Act 1972, nowhere the administration or management of Institutions has been left in the hands of CoA. But on the other hand, the CoA is mishandling and misleading Architecture Institutions with differential attitudes and personal choices based on whims and fancies of persons sitting at the helm of affairs and broadly not on the basis of ‘Rule of Law’ as in the case of levying huge and hectic Charges / Fees on Architecture Institutions.
Hence my dear Sirs, I look forward to your sincere acknowledgement and immediate action on stopping all these illegal levies.
Prof. R. Ramaraju,
Director, DEAR Institute.
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