ALTHOUGH it has been over six months since actor Anupam Kher was appointed the president of the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) Society, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (I&B) is yet to nominate the non-official members for the Governing Council.
The 12 non-official members are to represent cinema, arts, music and the alumni body of the institute.
The students’ association said the delay in appointing the members means that the institute does not have a Governing Council, the highest decision-making body, and an Academic Council that is responsible for taking decisions on academic matters. In the absence of the two bodies, the institute is being governed by Director Bhupendra Kainthola, who is enjoying supreme authority, instead of the FTII Society as envisaged in the institute’s
Kher was appointed as the head of the FTII Society by the I&B Ministry on October 11. Usually, the appointments of the chairman and the 12 nominated members are announced by the government at the same time. But in a departure from tradition, the government nominated only the society president and not the members.
The FTII Society comprises 24 members, half of whom are ex-officio members who head various media units under the I&B Ministry, like the National Film Archive of India, the Satyajit Ray Film and Television Institute, Films Division, CBFC and so on.
The Indian Express tried to contact both Kher and Kainthola seeking comments but they did not respond.
According to information obtained under the Right To Information Act, the file for appointing “non-official members” of the society is pending with the ministry. The institute had submitted a list of 37 names to the ministry for consideration. Sources in the institute confirmed that they are waiting for the I&B Ministry’s order nominating the 12 members that will complete the society. It can then hold its meeting to elect the Governing Council (GC) and the Academic Council (AC).
Rohit Kumar, the secretary of the FTII students’ body, said in absence of a GC, the autonomy of the institute has no meaning. “Formation of the FTII Society by appointing the members is a very pertinent issue for us. It is important for us and the institute to have a functioning Governing Council and Academic Council. These are highest decision-making bodies at the FTII as an autonomous institute. In absence of these, the autonomy of the institute has no meaning. Without the GC and the AC, everything is in the hands of just one person, the FTII director,” Kumar said.
He added that despite having influence, Kher seems to have failed to put pressure on the ministry to get the society members appointed.
“Delay in constituting the GC and AC means that the chairman (Kher) does not have any power to say anything when it comes to decision making. The post of the chairman becomes dysfunctional. It is a bad sign when it comes to the smooth and democratic functioning of the autonomous institute,” said Kumar.
Students pointed out that several important decisions, like hike in application fees for entrance examinations, were taken by the FTII director in an ad hoc manner, without holding any deliberation.
“The last meeting of the Academic Council took place in September 2017. Both the GC and the AC are supposed to meet twice a year. However, since we don’t have them, all key decisions are being taken by the director who has become the supreme authority. The decision to increase the application fee was not deliberated upon. Various changes in the shooting norms are being passed without any discussion,” said Kumar.