With the Ministry of Culture bringing back Leela Samson as director of Kalakshetra recently, one would have thought controversy around the institution was over. However, with a group of 16 staff members moving the Madras High Court recently voicing their dissent at Ms. Samson’s return, the issue has taken a new twist.
So far, it was C.S. Thomas, a retired professor of dance at Kalakshetra, who had pursued a legal battle against her continuance as director. But now staff members working for the institution currently, including some senior employees, seem to have decided to go public with their resentment.
“Many of my colleagues have remained in the post of tutor for nearly 14 years, without the promotion they deserve. From time to time, Ms. Samson has favoured outsiders known to her over staff members who have put in several years here,” a senior staff member said, on condition of anonymity.
Staff members alleged that Ms. Samson made direct appointments to posts that were previously being filled through promotions.
According R.T. Shyamala, advocate for the staff members, the case was heard by Justice Paul Vasanthakumar earlier this week. “The Union of India represented by the Ministry of Culture, Chairman of the Governing Board, Kalakshetra Foundation represented by its Director and Ms. Leela Samson herself have been given notices,” Ms. Shyamala said. The case is expected to be heard again next week.
Meanwhile, dissenting staff members on Monday met Gopalkrishna Gandhi, Chairman of the Kalakshetra Foundation. “We expressed our great disappointment about her return. He said he would give us an opportunity to voice our view. It is still not clear what the terms of her new tenure are. We have also written to the Ministry asking for these details,” a staff member said.