Following reports that the Information and Broadcasting (I&B) Ministry plans to bring in television producer B P Singh as the chairman of the Academic Council of the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), students at the institute have said this amounts to an admission Gajendra Chauhan’s “inability” to head the institute.
As reported by The Indian Express, I&B Ministry is planning to get Singh, an alumnus of the institute, as chairman of Academic Council to weaken the opposition of the students to Chauhan’s appointment as the the FTII Society chairman.
Academic Council is the body which makes all important decisions pertaining to the academic matters of the institute. As per FTII’s constitution, Academic Council, like Governing Council and Standing Finance Committee, is headed by the FTII Society president.
“This is happening for the first time in the history of the institute that when an FTII Society is in office, someone other than the president will head the Academic Council. By making the move to appoint someone else as the head of this important body, the I&B Ministry has sort of conceded that they made a mistake in appointing Gajendra Chauhan as FTII Society president and that he is unfit to occupy the post,” said Ajayan Adat, a final-year sound recording student.
Soon after Chauhan’s appointment, the students of the premier institute went on 139-day long strike and continuous protests. The students’ body then withdrew the strike and returned to their classes but vowed to continue to oppose appointment of Chauhan and four other “undeserving” candidates on the FTII Society.
“For the last two years, the institute’s director has been heading the Academic Council as there was no Society. But that’s a temporary arrangement until constitution of a society and appointment of its president. Also, most importantly, chairman of the Academic Council has to be elected by the members of the society. Singh’s appointment, if it happens, would also undermine the process of election,” said Adat.
The first meeting of the FTII Society is scheduled to take place on January 7.