A fresh round of a legal battle seems to be awaiting Kalakshetra Foundation director Leela Samson, who is currently touring the United States and Canada.
A few days ago, Sai Sankar, assistant professor of music at the Foundation, filed a writ petition in the Madras High Court — the second, after Ms. Samson’s return to the post of director in the last week of June — stating that the rules framed for the recruitment of the director post under the Kalakshetra Foundation Act, 1993 was not in consonance with the Act. The rule is silent about the conditions of service in respect of leave, pension, provident and other matters as may be prescribed.
“When the rule is silent about the educational qualification, tenure of the appointment and all other criteria, essential for appointment of a candidate in a post of the Central Government by Direct Recruitment, the same has to be struck down on the ground that it is discriminatory, inchoate and cannot be implemented,” states the petition.
The first case was filed by a group of 16 staff members, including Mr. Sai Sankar, challenging her reappointment. Mr. Sai Sankar is a student of Rukmini Devi Arundale and was appointed by her as lecturer of music.
Reviving older productions
Meanwhile, some interesting changes are visible on the Kalakshetra campus. For one, much to the delight of several students and faculty members, A. Janardhanan, former principal, is back. The foundation has decided to use his expertise and experience to revive some of the older Kalakshetra productions.
Prof. Janardhanan, who was seen on campus on Thursday, said, “I have not been given any formal designation, but I will be working with the students on productions such as Geeta Govindam, Meenakshi Vijayam, Shakuntalam. These are productions made some twenty years ago and I am delighted about the opportunity to revive them.”
However, questions about Ms. Samson’s current trip are floating around on campus. “Why now,” asked a staff member. “Addressing the problem areas cited in the CAG report should have been her priority. She could have postponed her workshops abroad,” said a teacher.
The contention of staff members revolves largely around three points — first, there is no clarity on the terms of her appointment now. Second, what happens to the CAG report findings? And third, neither the Foundation, nor the chairman of its governing board, reportedly, was aware of the basis of her appointment.
“The Ministry of Culture must clarify some of these questions. If her extension in the post was permitted because hers was not a regular appointment of the Ministry, the terms of her reappointment must be clarified,” said an employee of the Foundation.