Madras HC issues notice to Railway Board

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Chennai, May 31: The Madras High Court has ruled that the appointment of any agency to discharge the professional function of architects in the railway stations in the country would be subjected to the result of a writ petition.

While admitting a writ petition filed by Mr Ramaraju Tamil Nadu Chapter, Chairman of the Indian Institute of Architects, Mr Justice K Venkataraman issued notice to the Railway Board, returnable by June 9.

In his petition, Ramaraju submitted that no person other than those registered with the Council of Architecture (CoA) under the provisions of the Architecture Act 1972 could practice the profession in India.

He contented that the railways was in the process of appointing architects and technical consultants for preparing master plan and architectural design for railway stations identified for re-development.

The petitioner also submitted that two Hongkong-based firms had already been appointed for preparing master plan and feasibility study for New Delhi and Patna railway stations. The eligibility criteria did not make it clear that membership with the CoA was mandatory for the engagement of such firms for works in India.

These companies, in turn, appointed Chief Architects who were neither registered with the Council nor with a firm whose partners were registered with the Council, as required by law.

''As for Secunderabad railway station, the last date for submission of proposal had been extended to June 6 from May 28 and the notification mentioned educational qualifications, experience and previous assignments of the Chief Architect, it was silent on the mandatory requirement that he should be a registered member of the Council,'' the petitioner added.

The petitioner submitted that another tender condition stipulated that the Chief Architect should have designed at least one railway station or metro station valued at Rs 100 crore and should have received at least Rs one crore as remuneration. Assailing the provision, the petitioner contended since Indian Railways had not paid such an amount to any architect for any one work so far, it would definitely disqualify all Indian architects from the bid.

The petitioner wanted the court to forbear the Railway Board from engaging or designating any foreign agency to discharge the function of architects, other than those who possessed the requisite qualification under the Architecture Act 1972 and duly registered with the CoA.

UNI

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