Legal validity of governing panel in dispute

The Kozhikode Library and Research Centre that was established with much fanfare 16 years ago continues to be the centre of a controversy over its management, with a group threatening to intensify its agitation against the composition of its governing committee.

The Kozhikode Public Library Protection Committee, which had challenged the validity of the governing committee that has been in control of library affairs since its inception, alleged on Monday that the incumbent committee had failed miserably in discharging its responsibilities.

Protection committee spokesman Sivadas said on Monday that the governing committee had ceased to have any legal validity in the light of “an order passed by the Kerala High Court on January 31, 2005, invalidating the government order forming the society for the Kozhikode Library and Research Centre.”

He also alleged that a covert move was being made by the governing committee to cling to office, sidestepping the court verdict. He also alleged that a group had been trying to misinterpret the High Court order of 2005 to justify continuance of the governing committee in office.

After the Kerala High Court verdict struck down the formation of a society for the public library in Kozhikode, the State government, by another order, handed over the library and its building to the District Library Council.

However, an interim stay was granted on this order by an appeal filed by some members of the governing committee.

The Library Protection Committee maintains that since neither the government nor the society had gone on appeal against the High Court order of 2005, the court order continued to be binding and the society — registered as Kozhikode Public Library and Research Centre — had ceased to exist, in spite of the interim stay on the government order handing over the library to the library council.

The Kozhikode Public Library and Research Centre was established at the initiative of Amitabh Kant, the then District Collector as a novel venture and the funds for the library and the cost of construction of the building were raised by renting out space in some parts of the building for commercial activities.

A 21-member governing committee, comprising government officials and social and cultural activists, was formed to manage the library affairs.

However, the library council had challenged in the High Court the formation of the society for the public library. It was on its petition that the court struck down the formation of the society.

Because of protests against its governing committee and legal disputes, the library is yet to achieve its full potential.

  • ‘Library governing panel clinging to power'

  • Public library established 16 years ago