HC dismisses petition against foreign architects

The Delhi High Court has dismissed a petition challenging the in-principle approval granted by the Centre for engaging services of foreign architects for redevelopment of Pragati Maidan complex into an Integrated Exhibition-cum-Convention Centre.

In-principle approval

A Bench of Chief Justice G. Rohini and Justice Sangita Dhingra Sehgal dismissed the Public Interest Litigation filed by the India Institute of Architects, registered in 1917 as a voluntary organisation of architects to encourage the study of architecture, elevate the standards of architectural practice and to promote the interests of architects throughout India.

The organisation had challenged the in-principle approval that was granted by the Ministry of Home Affairs to the Indian Trade Promotion Organisation (ITPO) for taking the services of foreign architects for Pragati Maidan redevelopment.

Violation of Architects Act

It said the approval was in violation of the provisions of the Architects Act as the approval can be granted only after a particular foreign architect or agency makes an application for a project while in the instant case, the government has granted an open-ended approval to ITPO for hiring foreign architects. The petition sought the establishment of an institutionalised system and laying down of guidelines and/or processes, on the basis of which the application made by foreign architects can be examined. The court, however, rejected this.

‘No substance in argument’

“We do not find any substance in the above contention. We found that in the letter dated February 26, 2014 (by which MHA granted in-principle approval to ITPO for engaging the services of foreign architects for the Pragati Maidan Redevelopment), it was made clear that the specific approval in terms of Section 37(1)(b) of the Act would be accorded to the foreign architects as and when they are shortlisted by the Indian Trade Promotion Organisation (ITPO) and an application is made to the Central Government for prior permission,” the Bench noted.

“... the 'in-principle approval' that was conveyed to ITPO under the impugned letter, in our considered opinion, cannot be held to be in violation of the provisions of the Architects Act, 1972,” it held.

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Printable version | Oct 31, 2020 7:53:38 PM |

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