Late last month, the Delhi High Court gave a judgment that an architect of a building, as the author of an artistic work of architecture, does not have the right to restrain the demolition of a building. The ruling dismissed the suit by architect Raj Rewal, who filed the case when the Indian Trade Promotion Organisation (ITPO) proposed the redevelopment of Pragati Maidan, which also brought with it the overnight demolition of the Hall of Nations and the Nehru Pavilion, in 2017.
However, the court ruled that, “The requirements of urban planning outweigh the moral rights of an architect. The architect cannot demand the intangibility of work because it would violate the right of ownership and the principles of freedom of commerce. Similarly, the functionality of the building has to necessarily outweigh the interest of the architect on the preservation of integrity. Thus, the owner of the building has full power to dispose it and to destroy it.”