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Illegal Architectural Practices
Domain: India
This paper is just a fact file for the illegalities being pursued by architectural entities. I am not debating any emotional or speculative dos and don’ts. However, I would encourage every one to check the status of the entity you are associated with. It might be shutting soon. 😉
I.WHO IS ILLEGAL?
Currently there are 3 aspects under which the profession is being illegally practiced.
1. ILLEGAL PRACTICE 1
  1. Foreign Company Practicing with Local Partners
  2. Has Unregistered Foreign/Indian Directors
  3. Company is registered to pay Service tax for Architecture
2. ILLEGAL PRACTICE 2
  1. Indian Company Practicing
  2. Has Unregistered Foreign/Indian Directors
  3. Company is registered to pay Service tax for Architecture
3. ILLEGAL PRACTICE 3
  1. Indian Company Practicing Architecture
  2. Registered Indian Directors
  3. Company is not registered to pay Service tax for Architecture
If any of these pointers are true then the practice is Illegal and can be tried in the court of law.
II.WHY ARE THEY ILLEGAL?
These claims are simply based on the following excerpts from the Architect’s Act 1972. I have taken the liberty to highlight few important notes.
SECTION 25 – REGISTERATION
Qualification for entry in register – A person shall be entitled on payment of such fee as may be prescribed by rules to have his name entered in the register, if he resides or carries on the profession of architect in India and

(a) holds a recognised qualification, or

(b) does not hold such a qualification but, being a citizen of India, has been engaged in practice as an architect for a period of not less than five years prior to the date appointed under sub-section (2) of section 24, or

(c) possesses such other qualifications as may be prescribed by rules :

Provided that no person other than a citizen of India shall be entitled to registration by virtue of a qualification-

(a) recognised under sub-section (1) of section 15 unless by the law and practice of a country outside India to which such person belongs, citizens of India holding architectural qualification registrable in that country are permitted to enter and practise the profession of architect in such country, or

(b) unless the Central Government has, in pursuance of a scheme of reciprocity or otherwise, declared that qualification to be a recognised qualification under sub-section (2) of section 15.

FOR REFERENCE
SECTION 15 – FOREIGN ARCHITECTS
Recognition of architectural qualifications granted by authorities in foreign countries – (1) The Central Government may, after consultation with the Council, direct, by notification in the Official Gazette, that an architectural qualification granted by any university or other institution in any country outside India in respect of which a scheme of reciprocity for the recognition of architectural qualification is not in force, shall be a recognised qualification for the purposes of this Act or, shall be so only when granted after a specified date or before a specified date :

Provided that until the first Council is constituted the Central Government shall, before issuing any notification as aforesaid, consult the expert committee set up under the proviso to sub-section (2) of section 14.

(2) The Council may enter into negotiations with the authority in any State or country outside India, which by the law of such State or country is entrusted with the maintenance of a register of architects, for settling of a scheme of reciprocity for the recognition of architectural qualifications, and in pursuance of any such scheme, the central Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, direct that such architectural qualification as the Council has decided should be recognised, shall be deemed to be a recognised qualification for the purposes of this Act, any such notification may also direct that such architectural qualification shall be so recognised only when granted after a specified date or before a specified date.

COA Has left opportunities for reciprocity between different architectural councils, however, no such agreement has been made yet.
SECTION 37 – WHO CAN USE TITLE
Prohibition against use of title-(1) After the expiry of one year from the date appointed under sub-section (2) of section 24, no person other than a registered architect, or a firm of architectsshall use the title and style of architect:

Provided that the provisions of this section shall not apply to-

(a) practice of the profession of an architect by a person designated as a “landscape architect” or “naval architect”;

(b) a person who, carrying on the profession of an architect in any country outside India, undertakes the function as a consultant or designer in India for a specific project with the prior permission of the Central Government.

(i) “landscape architect” means a person who deals with the design of open spaces relating to plants trees and landscape;

(ii) “naval architect” means an architect who deals with design and construction of ships.

(2) If any person contravenes the provision s of sub-section (1), he shall be punishable on first conviction with fine which may extend to five hundred rupees and on any subsequent conviction with imprisonment which may extend to six monthsor with fine not exceeding one thousand rupees or with both.

III.WHAT IS BEING DONE?
I am at a predicament where the information I am allowed to share is limited. Information shall surface publicly in due course of time. Believers may trust me that CoA is asking illegal entities to shut down or change their MoA. It is summoning unregistered practioners. Companies are also facing criminal charges currently, example RSP Singapore as per the 16thJuly article in the Times of India.
However, what I can share is the following
1. On 10thOctober 2011 a circular was released by Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA), instructing all ROCs and RLLPs to not register any company that have architecture in their Memoranda of Association (MoA). In their notice they clearly index Architects Act 1972 Section 36 and 37.
2. On 1stMarch 2012 another circular was released by MCA to ROCs and RLLPs. This time, commenting on the profession of Chartered Accountant, Cost Accountant, Architect, Company Secretary etc. Here, the October circular was reinforced and all ROCs + RLLPs were instructed to refer the respective regulatory body before registering a company.
Clearly that would mean that for Architects the CoA was to be refered and CoA in turn indexes the Architects Act.
3. On 16thJuly 2012, TOI highlighted some of the issues regarding foreign practices. It used the case filed against RSP Architects as an example too.
In short the purging of the profession has begun.
Appendices
Currently there are 900 Companies practicing architecture in India. Whatever they may claim in their MoA (design services, spatial planning, etc) most of them are paying Service tax for Architecture. Some don’t even have architects as directors.
There are also honest Foreigners who have registered themselves with the CoA. Which shows their respect for the law of the land.
To sum up, there are avenues for a systematic approach to practise in this country. Then why choose wrong methodologies  
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