Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Memorandum of Appeal

Memorandum of Appeal
Students, Faculty of Architecture,
G.B.T.U., Lucknow.

Subject: Appeal to avail the registration of the students by the Council of Architecture as the basic and legal right of students, the same being currently impeded.

This is to bring to immediate notice that we, the students of Faculty of Architecture, Gautam Buddha Technical University (hereinafter G.B.T.U.), Lucknow, are facing a very grave situation regarding our future. The problem is of being declared “not to be registered as Architects” by the Council of Architecture (hereinafter referred to as the Council) (via the letter no. CA/5/Academic-UP01, dated 21 august 2009).This bars us from using the title “Architect” (as per Architects Act, 1972) which is essential in practice of architecture, employment with various government and private bodies and to pursue for higher studies and teaching assignments. In effect it renders us unable to practice this profession in any and all of the professional prospects.
                                          Faculty of Architecture, G.B.T.U., Lucknow (formerly known as Lucknow College of architecture and previously as Government College of architecture) is a premier institution in the state of Uttar Pradesh imparting the architectural education and the accredited Bachelors of Architecture degree. The admissions to this institute are done through a combined entrance examination known as UP-SEE (with a separate aptitude and drawing skills examination for architecture). The brochure of G.B.T.U. (formerly U.P.T.U. i.e. Uttar Pradesh technical University) mentions the institute as UP051 (listed under Govt. /Govt. Aided) and which is now a Faculty of the University itself. Students from various parts of the state appear through the exam and on the basis of merit, the top most students (i.e. the creamy layer) opt for this institute as it is the foremost, oldest and the only government architecture institute in the state. The students prior to taking admissions are not given any information, anywhere, whatsoever regarding the Council’s “No Admission” status of the college. We as students opting for the college do not know the importance & functioning of the Council and henceforth do not inquire for any such status. After going through all the counseling process and finalizing for the institute, we are asked to submit the fees and join the college on a certain date that lies usually in the first week of August. It is on this day of introduction or orientation session that we are informed about the Council and the current status of the college. In this meet, we and our parents are assured by the college administration that the issue will be resolved soon and we will get registered by the council once we get our B.Arch. qualification (which has not happened till date).
                                      As unaware students just venturing into the field of architecture, we are not able to fully comprehend the importance and effects of the Council’s status of the college at that time. But it starts to dawn on us very soon as we start to take part in architectural competitions, many of them requiring the registration by council status as a prerequisite to participate in the competition. As we undergo the practical training period, we are exposed to the importance of the registration by the Council, (few of them being: to be able to sign the construction documents and to run an architectural consultancy, etc.).Further as the students enter the final year of the course they are taught, the subjects of professional practice and development legislation, in which the profound importance of the registration of architects by the Council is fully understood. By this time the student is not in a state to do anything but pursue the field of architecture, which by the application of the Council’s status is rendered meaningless, hence leaving the student into a blank state.
                                     The college was put under “no admissions” category by the council during 2005-06. The college administration wrote back to the council that it is too late to issue such an order as all the counseling schedule had been fixed by then, and hence this decision should be reconsidered  but the council remained adamant on its decision and replied the same in the letter dated 3rd October 2005. Next year, another inspection visit by the Council took place on May 12, 13, 2006, that happened to be the last inspection by the Council. After this inspection the council continued the “no Admission” status on sole grounds of lack of faculty.
                                    The admissions continued for the session and during this period the college society filed a judicial case on 18th July 2006, against the Council and its decision of awarding the “no admission” status (and hence to stop registering the students admitted to the college after the session 2005-06 on this basis). We were told later that this lawsuit was filed on certain grounds as the college society deemed fit. After that, there has been no inspection visit to the college from the Council and 5 years have passed since then. The status of the college according to the Council remains the same. There has been a continuous admission of students during every session, making the situation graver and acute, as number of students affected by the Council’s status, increases. It would be very interesting to note that during the course of study, we, the students feel that the faculty and the teaching staff (both permanent and visiting) has been very able, informative and friendly, in imparting the knowledge of architecture and we have been taught and nurtured very well by them. The college has a good environment with a very commendable library, studios, workshops, and a creditable schedule of seminars and guest lectures from eminent people in the profession of architecture and a facilitation for cultural and sports activities in form of pratidhwani (annual college fest).This is proved by the at par performance of the students in the University semester examinations, various prestigious architectural competitions and positive comments about  students from architects around the nation during their practical training session.
                                   During the course of time, we have tried to approach both the college authorities and the Council for achieving a solution that is in welfare of the students. In reply to a letter by the college students to the Council querying for the clarification of the registration of the students, the Council replied that, it has invoked section 20 of the Architects Act, 1972 and has passed a resolution no. 366 during its 49th meet. This resolution states the following:
1)      To recommend to the Central government to derecognize the bachelor of architecture degree to be awarded by U.P.T.U. (now G.B.T.U.) ,Lucknow , to students admitted from the academic session 2005-06 & onwards being trained at Lucknow college of Architecture, Lucknow.
2)      Registrar of the Council is directed not to register students admitted from the academic session 2005-06 and onwards by the Lucknow college of Architecture, Lucknow, even if they are awarded degree at a later date, as Architects under the Architects Act, 1972.
This resolution stated the removal of the college’s name from the Council’s website too.
This reply is obviously of grave concern to the students as it directly implies a point blank future for all the students admitted to the institute during and after the session 2005-06. Immediately, a query letter to the Vice Chancellor of the university referring to The Council’s reply was submitted, which asked what steps have been taken by the university regarding the whole issue. A meeting was held by college authorities regarding this issue but nothing concrete came out of it. Since then, 2 batches (admitted in session 2005-06 and 2006-07) have already passed out and there has been no positive development in this whole matter. Coming to the present situation, we have been pursuing college authorities and the University since 5-6 months to take some creative steps so as to achieve a profound solution, which would be in welfare of more than 300 students. But, nothing happened and college administration guided us to the point, to file a case under law, against the Council after we complete our course of study and get our B.Arch. qualification. But this is a very far-fetched solution for us, as being students neither we have the understanding of the functioning court of law nor its various procedures nor we have enough resources to do that. Moreover, whether it would prove to be an optimum solution for us is definitely in question and doubt.
                                      We, as innocent students are not required to understand the knitty gritty of whole issue, the functioning of the Council, the University, the Institution and how the various causes and dictums have led to the present situation, in which the only victim is the “innocent student. As students, we have a duty to put forth our attention into the academics rather than into matters like these, which should be dealt and solved by higher authorities. But as this had not been the case, we are now very concerned about our future and without being registered by the Council, our whole life and career is at stake. There is a definite narrowing of the career options for us. This would result in the whole process of completion of Bachelors of Architecture course (spanning a total of 5 years) to be a sheer waste of our time and resources. This would lead to a blank and abrupt future for all of us, and on humanitarian grounds it should be conceived as a crime done by the higher authorities (The G.B.T.U. & The Council) who are indirectly abusing our basic and foremost rights as students, and are playing with something as sensitive as the future of hundreds of students. It is an act of shamefulness and carelessness on part of the respected higher authorities to act in such an immature manner (considering the level and power they withhold) to lead to a situation where the ultimate victims are innocent students who are not at fault anywhere. We are very uncertain and harassed as to what our future holds, which is considerably hampering our role and function as a student and in the process of acquiring knowledge which is our priority. This is creating a negative attitude and certainly a loss of state of mental well-being, dampening our spirits as budding architects, responsible for development, growth and welfare of the nation and society. This is an issue of utmost importance which should be accordingly solved in the least time possible so as to ensure the life and career of so many students to be secure. As we already mentioned, that we as innocent students are not concerned with all these issues and tussles, and have complete rights to ask for a solution in written words, that will enable us to be registered by the council as we complete our Bachelors of Architecture qualification.
On the basis of this current situation and the reasons mentioned we, the students of Faculty of Architecture, G.B.T.U., Lucknow, have decided to stand for our cause in the form of a peaceful protest against all the above mentioned authorities, asking for our basic right i.e. to get registered by the Council. If we are not given the solution within a viable time limit (within a week from the day we start our protest) we will be compelled to act further in a graver manner, in form of a peaceful “hunger movement” that will continue till our basic rights are acknowledged and our demands are fulfilled.

                                                                       Thanking you,  
Faculty of Architecture,
G.B.T.U, Lucknow,
Uttar Pradesh,
Pin code: 226007

Dated: 19th September 2011
Time   : 11:11 am


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