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Practice of Architecture can be carried on by any person without degree - title of 'Architect' however cannot be used by them; SC.

Supreme Court of India

Justice D Y Chandrachud & Justice Ajay Rastogi

The SC on March 17, 2020 {Council of Architecture v. Mr Mukesh Goyal & Ors} held that Section 37 of the Architects Act does not prohibit individuals not registered under the Architects Act from undertaking the practice of architecture and its cognate activities. 

It was held that Section 37 does not prohibit the practice of architecture by unregistered individuals, it certainly does prohibit unregistered individuals from using the ―title and style of architect. It was held that under the scheme of the Architects Act, only individuals possessing the statutorily recognised minimum educational qualifications can apply for registration as an ―Architect under the Act. It was further held that registration as an architect under the statute is thus a guarantee of possessing certain minimum educational qualifications. It was held that Section 37 prohibits unregistered individuals from designating themselves or referring to themselves as ―architects. It was held that the consequence of the regulatory regime is that when an individual is called an ―Architect a reasonable person would assume that they are a registered architect under the Architects Act and as a consequence possess the requisite educational qualifications and specialised knowledge associated with architects. 

It was held that NOIDA cannot promote or recruit individuals who do not hold a degree in architecture recognised by the Architects Act to a post that uses the title or style of ―architect. However, it was held that the authority is free to change the nomenclature of the post to any alternative as long as it does not violate the provisions of the Architects Act by using the style and title of ―architect in its name.

The question before the Supreme Court was whether Section 37 of the Architects Act 1972 merely prohibits the use of the title ―Architect by individuals not registered with the Council of Architecture under Chapter 3 of the enactment or alternatively whether Section 37 actually prohibits unregistered individuals from carrying out the practice of architecture and its cognate activities. In other words, does Section 37 permit individuals not registered with the Council to continue practicing the profession of architecture in India? As a corollary to this question, the SC was also called upon to determine whether a government post titled or styled using the term ―Architect can be held by individuals not registered with the Council of Architecture. The same was answered by the SC that although practice of architecture and its cognate activities can be carried by anyone, but the designation 'Architect' cannot be used by such persons who do not have requisite degree in architecture. The appeal was partly allowed by the SC.

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