“FTII is not Doordarshan”
“What have you reduced an autonomous institute to?” Bombay HC asks Centre
August 9, 2019
On July 19, Indranil Bhattacharya, Dean (Films) of the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) was suspended for “an anti-government Facebook post” and on disciplinary grounds. He was also issued three show-cause notices.
Bhattacharya wanted to apply for a posting at the Jamia Millia Islamia (JMI) in New Delhi. His advocate Sunip Sen told the court that Bhattacharya’s application will be routed through the Director of FTII. Sen also alleged vindictive action on the part of the Centre because Bhattachatya had complained to the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC).
In 2013, Indranil Bhattacharya had filed a complaint with the Central Information Commission (CIC) under the Right to Information Act, 2005 (RTI Act), alleging serious omissions by FTII, Pune. “The complaint pertained to the public authority's poor compliance to the RTI Act and its provisions and also a complete disregard for Section 4 of the RTI Act regarding suo motu disclosure.”
By the time the complaint was heard by the CIC in 2017, Bhattacharya further submitted that his only complaint was a lack of total compliance with Section 4 of the RTI, but that a large degree of improvement had been made in four years. The CIC concluded that it found no evidence of malfidelity. It also suggested that the Director, FTII hold workshops for officers and staff on the key feature of the RTI Act.
Slamming the behaviour of the Centre in the matter of the suspension of Bhattacharaya from his faculty position, Justices Gautam Patel and Satyaranjan Dharmadhikari of the Bombay HC reminded the respondents of the institution’s prestigious history. The court has directed FTII to forward his application to JMI.
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