The succession plans to the post of State Librarian at the Kerala State Central Library in Thiruvananthapuram is in a muddle with one of the two contenders to the post alleging that the administration is trying to sideline her on the basis of her caste.

P.K. Shobhana, Deputy State Librarian, had alleged that she was purposefully given lower grades in the confidential reports for three years from 2011, to deny her the promotion.

“Only when I filed a Right to Information (RTI0 application did I come to know that I was given very low grades citing reasons such as lack of proper official communication, failings in administrative tasks, and even lack of discipline in official matters and lack of personal relations with colleagues and the public. But during the said time, I had performed my official duties exceedingly well, including being the head of the summer school in 2011, when it was commended upon by the public and the media alike,” Ms. Shobhana told The Hindu.

She had previously complained to the department Secretary in 2007 against the discrimination directed at her by the State Librarian. In 2001, when she joined the library, she was allegedly not even given a seat. In 2011, she was downgraded as a duty librarian in violation of all norms, she said.

“In the meetings of the Departmental Promotion Committee (DPC), the State Librarian did not even highlight my qualifications. There has been a subtle rewriting of the promotion rules to deny the benefits of my caste status,” she said.

State Librarian P. Suprabha, who is to retire by the end of this month, said a final decision on the promotion had to be taken by the government.

“The ratings were given according to her performance at the library. She has refused to cooperate with me in the past years and does not even attend meetings. But I still argued for her at the committee meeting,” Ms. Suprabha said.

Additional Chief Secretary K.M. Abhraham, convener of the DPC, said though a report had been sent to the government on the succession plan, a decision was yet to be taken.

“Ms. Shobhana had a chance to appeal against the ratings in the confidential report at an earlier stage. But she signed on the report agreeing to have read it, which has jeopardised the chances of her promotion. Now, she has given an appeal and a decision is yet to be taken,” Mr. Abraham said.