Par panel''s no to govt plan to control Architecture Council

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New Delhi, Feb 6 (PTI) A Parliamentary panel has decidedto shoot down government''s plan to have greater control overthe Council of Architecture, which regulates the profession.

The Parliamentary Standing Committee on HRD has askedthe HRD Ministry to redraft the Architects (Amendment) Bill.

The Council was constituted under the Architects Act, 1972.

The Bill, introduced in the Rajya Sabha in the MonsoonSession last year, has provisions to give government power tosupercede the Council if it felt "that the Council is unableto perform" duty imposed on it by law.

A little over a year ago, the HRD ministry had asked theCBI to probe alleged repeated violations of norms by theCouncil.

The demand for a CBI probe was seen as a result of asix-year-long tussle, including legal battles, among differentarms of the government to wield the power to recogniseinstitutions and courses concerning architecture.

After a series of deliberations, the Committee, headedby senior Congress MP Oscar Fernandes, is understood to havedecided to ask the Ministry to redraft the Bill and come upwith a comprehensive legislation.

The report of the Committee is expected to be submittedto Parliament in the upcoming Budget Session.

Section 10 B of the Amendment Bill seeks to give powersto the government to supercede the Council for a period notexceeding two years if the body fails to comply with thedirections of the government, abuses its powers, andunderperforms "persistently".

During the period of the supersession, the Council''sentire property will be vested with the government.

This provision came under a lot of criticism from themembers of the Committee.

"How can the government say that a body fails to listento it will be superseded," said a Committee member.

But the HRD Ministry has made its position clear onthe issue.

"It has come to notice that the Council of Architecturehas exercised certain administrative and financial functionsbeyond those stipulated in the said Act and also did notadhere to the advice of the Central Government in certaincases," HRD Minister Kapil Sibal had said while introducingthe Bill in the Rajya Sabha.

The Act provides for registration of Architects,standards of education, recognised qualifications andstandards of practice to be complied with by the practicingarchitects.

The Council is charged with the responsibility toregulate the education and practice of profession throughoutIndia besides maintaining the register of architects.

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