The month-long controversy over the appointment of Aruna Sharma (a Madhya Pradesh cadre IAS officer and former Joint Secretary in the National Human Rights Commission) as Director General of Doordarshan has finally ended with the Prasar Bharati Board selecting her for the top post.
The Prasar Bharati Board, in a specially held meeting on March 23, conducted interviews of about 18 candidates on the basis of the mandate of the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) to select the Doordarshan DG and ratified Sharma’s appointment cleared by Appointments Committee last month. Her appointment was, however, challenged by Ashok Jailkhani, Deputy Director General, Doordarshan, on the ground that he was not considered for the post and that the selection process was faulty.
Prasar Bharati Board, in its meeting of March 23, considered Jailkhani’s candidature besides that of a few IAS officers. Noreen Naqvi, the then DDG All India Radio, who was officiating as DG Doordarshan for the past few months, was also interviewed for this top post. However, after the CAT stayed the appointment of Sharma as DG in the second week of February, but allowing her to continue till a fresh appointment was made, Naqvi had gone back to All India Radio as Director General.
With the appointment of Sharma, Doordarshan now has its first ever full-fledged woman Director General as Noreen Naqvi was only an acting DG. Also, Doordarshan has got its regular DG after a gap of about two years ever since the departure of the last full-fledged DG, Naveen Kumar, around mid-2007. After his exit, Doordarshan DDG, LD Mandloi, was made acting DG. And after he moved to AIR a few months back, Noreen Naqvi had been holding this ad hoc charge.
Now that Sharma is firmly in place, her appointment is expected to put an end to the absolute powers being enjoyed by the ‘controversial’ Prasar Bharati Board CEO, BS Lalli, in the absence of a regular DG. Doordarshan officials have been reportedly resenting Lalli’s autocratic style of functioning. Even the Prasar Bharati board members have charged him of bypassing them while taking key decisions about the working of Doordarshan and have complained to the I&B Ministry and Vice-President, Hamid Ansari, Chairman of the Appointments Committee.