The Madras High Court has held that Director of Public Libraries S. Anbalagan does not have the necessary educational qualification to hold the post.

Allowing a writ petition by M. Muthuswami, Justice K. Chandru observed that the place “should not be made a dumping ground for wanted and unwanted elements to adorn the head of the Library Department without having the required minimum qualifications.”

Mr. Anbalagan, a member of the Teacher Recruitment Board and Director of School Education, was transferred and posted as the Director of Public Libraries, Chennai, on September 21, 2011 in the place of K. Arivoli, who was transferred as a member of the Teacher Recruitment Board in the rank of Director.

Listing persons who were drawn from the Directorate of School Education and who had occupied the office of the Director of Public Libraries for the last three decades, Mr. Justice Chandru pointed out that except for one or two, others lacked even the minimum educational qualification prescribed for the post.

“Though the rules clearly state that in respect of recruitment by transfer, a person must have a Master's degree in Library Science as well as 15 years of experience after obtaining the degree of Master of Library Science, those rules were breached completely, as most of the persons who adorned the office of the Director of Public Library, including the third respondent (Mr. Anbalagan) did not have the said basic minimum qualification,” the judge said.

He also said the State should think of amending the rules to provide for direct recruitment by selecting qualified candidates.

Coming down heavily on the authorities, the Judge observed: “Having collected huge amounts from the public as library cess and having constituted a legislation for libraries for providing for a statutory post of Director, the authorities for the last four decades have not done anything to alleviate the situation. In fact, there is sorry state of affairs in the library wing of the State.”

Observing that an attack on a library was an attack on the culture, civilization and history of the people, the judge cited famous instances in the history of libraries being burnt or destroyed. “A library could be destroyed either by closure or by appointing persons without the minimum qualification to man the same.”