NEW DELHI: The Delhi high court has quashed a key appointment to School of Planning and Architecture (SPA) in the capital by the Union human resource development (HRD) ministry. 

A bench of acting chief justice Gita Mittal and justice C Hari Shankar found that Balbir Verma was not eligible to be nominated to SPA's prestigious board of governors as he isn't a member of the Council of Architecture. The COA is a pre-eminent body charged with the responsibility to regulate the education and practice of the profession throughout India besides maintaining the register of architects. 

HC acted on a petition filed by architect Sudhir Vora challenging HRD ministry's March 2017 decision on the ground that the law clearly says the member has to be from the COA. 

"We are of the opinion that the use of the words 'from the Council of Architecture' are more than sufficient to indicate, clearly and unequivocally, the legislative intent, that the nominee concerned had to be a member of the Council of Architecture, and not just any one of the teeming millions of architects practising in the country," the high court bench observed while setting aside the appointment. 

The School of Planning and Architecture was declared an Institution of National Importance under the School of Planning & Architecture Act, 2014 and is a specialised university, which exclusively provides training, at various levels, in different aspects of human habitat and environment. 

Members of the Council of Architecture, and members alone, would be entitled to be regarded as representatives from the said council, HC said while noting that "the appointment of respondent as member of the board of governors of the SPA is quashed and set aside."