Who’s got power: Councils’ row over architecture academy
HRD Ministry approached for a solution to the impasse
Amba Batra

New Delhi, September 14: The ongoing tussle between the All India
Council for Technical Education (AICTE) and the Council of Architects
(CoA) for control over schools of architecture in the Capital may put a
question mark on the degrees of several aspiring architects.

Over 40 students, who will begin their course at Vastu Kala Academy in
South Delhi, are among those who may face the brunt of this. While the
CoA issued a notice to the academy stating it should not admit students
this year as it lacks adequate infrastructure, the academy has gone
ahead with its admission procedure.

Daljit Singh Adel, general secretary of the Academy, said: ‘‘The Council
of Architects has no power over us. It can keep issuing notices saying
that we are not to make fresh admissions but the AICTE has given us the
green signal... The Academy has already started taking tests and counsel
students and 40 of them will be admitted soon. Our infrastructure is up
to the mark.’’

The Academy is affiliated to Guru Gobind Singh Indraprashtha University.
However, the confusion is whether the CoA or AICTE is the authoritative
body. While the CoA was created to maintain educational standards and
give recognition, the AICTE in recent years too began to play a role in
the education quality at architecture schools.

‘‘The Architects Act is a comprehensive Act and only those students who
are recognised by the Council of Architecture can practice. We are the
ones who decide what the future architects should study and we look into
the minimum standards to be maintained in order to give registration and
rerecognition to schools,’’ said Professor Vijay Sohni, president, CoA.

He added, the CoA has ‘‘informed the Vastu Kala Academy, that we are not
satisfied with their infrastructure and they should not take in any
students this year. They are short of teachers, space and also have some
commercial activities on their campus. However, at the end of the
course, we have to recognise them and allow them to practice and we do
not want them losing out’’.

The Academy had also filed a writ petition in the Delhi Court, seeking
increase in their intake from 20 to 40 students for the session
2003-2004 and for admitting students in the subsequent years. The matter
will come up for hearing next month.

‘‘This is contempt on the Academy’s part. They have not been responding
to any of our notices and are earlier inspections gave a report that the
college was not fit to admit more students,’’ said Sohni.

However, a team sent by the AICTE recently submitted that more students
could be admitted there. Professor E.F. Ribeiro, chairman of All India
Board for Architectural and Town Planning Education, and member of the
CoA, said: ‘‘There are some anomalies in this case which need to be
sorted out. The HRD Ministry is looking into the issue and once it
specifies what the CoA and AICTE should do, these issues will not arise.
We do not want the students bearing the brunt.’’

When contacted, an HRD official said the matter was brought to the
notice of the ministry a while back and a solution to the impasse would
be taken as soon as Union Minister Arjun Singh returns, on September 16.
‘‘This particular stalemate is in the list of the Minister’s
priorities,’’ the official said.