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The Municipal Corporation of Delhi and ors. Vs. Ram Kumar Bhardwaj and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCivil
CourtDelhi High Court
Decided On
Case NumberLetter Patent Appeal No. 59 of 1975
Judge
Reported in18(1980)DLT283
ActsDelhi Municipal Corporation Act, 1957 - Sections 2(25)
AppellantThe Municipal Corporation of Delhi and ors.
RespondentRam Kumar Bhardwaj and ors.
Advocates: M.K. Chawla,; P.R. Monga,; D.D. Chawla and;
Excerpt:
.....challenging the power of the delhi municipal corporation to impose restrictions on their right to practice as architects. the writ petitions were allowed by the learned single judge and held that the purported action of the corporation was ultra virus the delhi municipal corporation act, 1957. dismissing the appeal filed by the corporation,; 1. the authority of the corporation, if any, is restricted to the licensing and making other related provisions to govern the qualifications and conduct of persons other than the registered architects while submitting building plans to the corporation. but the corporation does not possess any such power after the coming into force of the architects act, 1972 in relation to persons who are registered as architects there under.; 2. the delhi..........such provisions in thebye-laws. bye-laws 6, 9 and 10(2) of the building bye-laws. 1959refer to the licensed architects as being persons who can submitbuilding plans. in view of the definition of 'licensed architects' insection 2(25) the licensed architects referred to in these bye-lawshave to be persons who are licensed under the provisions of the act the result is that on a consideration of these bye-laws the commissioner, delhi municipal corporation, issued the letter, dated 7/05/1974, which is annexure a to the writ petition. in this letter it wasproposed that the corporation may frame bye-laws for licensing andregistration, inter alia, of draughtsman and architects as required by' virtue of powers under 2(25) read with sections 430 and 481 of theact, and bye-laws 6 and 9 of the.....
Judgment:

V.S. Deshpande, C.J.

(1) The respondents are registered as architects under the Architects Act, 1972 and practice assuch in the Union Territory of Delhi. They filed two writ petitionschallenging the power of the Delhi Municipal Corporation to imposerestrictions on their right to practice as architects. The restrictionsand the basis on which the restriction was imposed may be describedas below.Section 2(25) of the Delhi Municipal Corporation Act, 1957D (the Act) is as below :

'LICENSEDarchitect', 'licensed draughtsman' licensed engineer'.licensed plumber', licensed surveyor' and licensed townplanner' mean respectively a person licensed under theprovisions of this Act as an architect, draughtsman,engineer, plumber, surveyor and town planner'.

Since the definition of section 2(25) contemplates that a licensedarchitect or a licensed draughtsman is to be a person who is licensedunder the provisions of the Act as an architect or a draughtsman, it isnecessary to know the provisions which empower the Corporationto license an architect or a draughtsman under the Act. Section 430(1) of the Act states that whenever it is provided in this Act orany bye-law made there under that a license or a 'written permissionmay be granted for any purpose, such license or written permissionshall be signed by the Commissioner or by the officer empowered togrant the same under this Act or the bye-laws made there under - . . .'There is no specific provision in the Act itself empowering the Corporation to issue license to an architect or a draughtsman. Section 481(1) of the Act empowers the Corporation to make bye-laws forvarious matters. Part thereof empowers the making of bye-lawsrelating to buildings. Part L thereof empowers the making of byelaws relating to miscellaneous matters. Clause (7) of Part L is asfollows:

'(7)Any other matter which is to be or may be prescribedby bye-laws made under this Act or in respect of whichthis Act makes no provision or makes insufficient pro-vision and provision is, in the opinion of the Corporation,necessary for the efficient municipal government ofDelhi.'This is a residuary power to make bye-laws given to the Corporation, if the making of such bye-laws is necessary 'for the efficientmunicipal government of Delhi.'

(2) Whatever may have been the position before the coming intoforce of the Architects Act, 1972, what we have to consider is whetherafter the coming into force of the said Act the Delhi MunicipalCorporation has any power to regulate the practice of architects bythe insistence that they must possess a license issued by the Corporation. The Architects Act, 1972 sets out the qualification to be possessed by the persons to be registered as architects 'under the saidAct. It also prohibits persons who do not have such registrationfrom describing themselves as architects and also deals with disciplinary action for misconduct of architects. It is, thereforee, a complete enactment the effect of which is that a person cannot call himself an architect unless he is registered under the said Act. Of course,unlike the Advocates Act, which restricts the right to practice incourts only to the advocates qualified there under, the Architects Actdoes not restrict the practice by architects to persons registerd lenderthe said Act. thereforee, some persons who cannot called themselvesarchitects may still be free to do the work which is ordinarily dune byarchitects and they are not dealt with by the Architects Act. Whetherthe Corporation can deal with such persons is not a question whicharsses before us. Our consideration is limited to the question whetherthe Corporation can regulate the profession and practice of architectsregistered under the Architects Act, 1972 by insisting that the architects practicing in Delhi and submitting plans for construction ofbuildings for the approval of the Corporation must possess licensesissued by the Corporation.

(3) The provisions in the Act on which such authority could beclaimed by the Corporation have been discussed above and it hasbeen found that there is no specific provision in the Delhi MunicipalCorporation Act itself authorising the Corporation to issue licensesto architects. We have, thereforee, to see for such provisions in thebye-laws. Bye-laws 6, 9 and 10(2) of the Building Bye-laws. 1959refer to the licensed architects as being persons who can submitbuilding plans. In view of the definition of 'licensed architects' insection 2(25) the licensed architects referred to in these bye-lawshave to be persons who are licensed under the provisions of the Act the result is that on a consideration of these bye-laws the Commissioner, Delhi Municipal Corporation, issued the letter, dated 7/05/1974, which is annexure A to the writ petition. In this letter it wasproposed that the Corporation may frame bye-laws for licensing andregistration, inter alia, of draughtsman and architects as required by' virtue of powers under 2(25) read with sections 430 and 481 of theAct, and bye-laws 6 and 9 of the Building Bye-laws, 1959. In thebye-laws proposed in this letter, provision is sought to be made toprescribe qualifications to be held by architects and draughtsmanbefore licenses could be issued to them, for payment of license fees,deposit of security amounts by them and certain penalties to beimposed on them for contravention of these bye-laws. The wholescheme of such regulation was challenged by the respondents.

(4) The writ petitions of the respondents were allowed by thelearned single Judge, who granted reliefs prayed for, namely, to declare that this regulatory scheme was contrary to the Architects Act,1972 and superseded by the said Act and, thereforee, the purportedaction of the Corporation was ultra virus the Delhi Municipal Corporation Act, 1957. The resolution No. 724, dated 3-9-1974, andthe orders dated 2-4-1975 and 15-4-1975 were also apparently quashed by allowing the writ petitions as a whole. These appeals havebeen preferred by the Corporation against the said decisions of thelearned single Judge.

(5) Two considerations are relevant to determine the authority ofthe Corporation to regulate the practice of the architects in submitting building plans to the Corporation for approval. Firstly, whetherthe Act and bye-laws framed validly there under authorise the Corporation to do so, and secondly, what is the effect on the authorityof the Corporation, if any, of the passing of the Architects Act, 1972.Consideration No. 1 :

(6) Presumably, section 2(25) of the Act contemplated issue oflicenses to architects and draughtsman because at the time the Actwas framed and enacted there was no Act providing for the registration of architects and issuing of registration certificates to them andthus regulating the provision and practice of architects. Further,there may be other persons who cannot be registered as architectsunder the Architects Act, 1972 and in respect of such persons it isarguable that the Corporation had to make some provision becausethe building plans submitted to the Corporation have to be by personswho are qualified to the satisfaction of the Corporation. It is necessary for the Corporation to ensure that building plans are made byqualified persons and since the Corporation authorities cannot beexpected to scrutinise the building plans with a view to redraftingthem in each and every case, some preliminary safeguard that theplans have been prepared by qualified persons could be insisted uponby the Corporation. The authority for making bye-laws for thispurpose is somewhat strenuous, but it may be spelt out from theprovisions of section 481 Part F and Part L, particularly sub-section(1) of Part L containing the words 'necessary for the efficient municipal Government of Delhi'. In so far as the building plans submitted to the Corporation made by persons who are not architects underthe Architects Act, 1971 are concerned, we need not say anythingas to the power of the Corporation to insist on such persons possessing licenses to be issued by the Corporation under the bye-lawsframed by the Corporation. In our view, thereforee, the authority ofthe Corporation, if any, is restricted to the licensing and makingother related provisions to govern the qualifications and conduct ofpersons other than the registered architects while submitting buildingplans to the Corporation. But as will be shown under the secondconsideration below, the Corporation does not possess any suchpower after the coming into force of the Architects Act, 1972 inrelation to persons who are registered as architects there under.Consideration No. 2 :

(7) Section 502 of the Act is as follows :

'SAVEas provided in this Act, nothing contained in thisAct shall be construed as authorising the disregard bythe Corporation or any municipal authority or any municipal officer or other municipal employee of any law forthe time being in force.'

This salutory provision recognises that the Delhi Municipal Corporation Act being a general measure relating to the functioning ofthe Corporation is not expected to provide for the details of the various related questions with which the Corporation may have to dealfor the time being only or in the absence of special law dealing withsuch matters. The Architects Act, 1972 is a special law dealingwith the qualifications to be possessed by persons for being registeredas architects and restricting the term 'architect' or 'registered architects' to such persons only Since the possession of a registrationcertificate under the Architects Act. 1972 is regarded by Parliamentas sufficient qualification for the practice of architects and since allrelated questions have been dealt with in respect of architects by thesaid Act, it became unnecessary for the Corporation to do so thereafter. In view of section 502 of the Act, the provisions referred toabove which could be construed as authorising the Corporation toregulate the licensing of architects and draughtsman could not be soconstrued after coming into force of the Architects Act, 1972.

(8) It would be sufficient, in our view, for the disposal of thewrit petitions and the appeals before us, to say that neither the provisions of the Act, nor the provisions of any bye-laws made there under or any orders issued for the implementation of these bye-lawsor any resolutions passed by the Corporation in that respect willaffect the persons who are registered under the Architects Act, 1972.

(9) We accordingly declare that the judgments under appeal bythe learned single Judge are not to be understood to mean that theimpugned actions of the Corporation including the bye-laws and theresolutions or orders referred to in relief (a) asked for in the writpetitions are quashed for all purposes. It is sufficient for us to declare that none of these provisions will affect in any way the statusand practice of persons, including the possession of license an payment of license fee or amounts of security, etc. and the respondentsshall be free to act as architects and submit building plans to theMunicipal Corporation of Delhi without having to comply with anyof these provisions.Subject to these observations, the appeals are dismissed withoutany order as to costs.


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