The issue of granting permission to a physically challenged student of St. Stephen’s College to take his annual examination in an air-conditioned room turned controversial on Wednesday. In a surprise move, the Superintendent of Examination M.S. Frank abdicating his responsibility on Wednesday.
Calling the controversy “unfortunate and unsavoury,” Frank, who is also the college vice principal, said he resigned “to uphold the dignity of the ongoing university examination.”
The second year student of History Honours, who had first approached Principal Valson Thampu for permission on April 24, is wheelchair-bound and suffers from a spinal problem that prevents him from sweating. His condition makes sitting in a non-air-conditioned room quite difficult.
The candidate received the go-ahead to sit in a separate AC room came on Tuesday. Frank has been accused by Principal Valson Thampu of not acting promptly to address the student’s need.
In fact, Thampu, in a letter dated April 27 and addressed to the Dean of Colleges (a copy of which is with HT), has even mentioned Frank’s alleged reluctance in helping the student, which he thought stemmed from the “history of personal animosity” between him and the child.
In his defence Frank said in a statement, “These relaxations and special facilities are granted by the University only through the Controller of Examinations upon the recommendation of the Chief Medical Officer of DU. I am duty-bound to adhere to the rules laid down in this regard. There was no written application either from the candidate or his parents asking for special facilities/relaxations till 26th April. Still, to keep him comfortable I have gone out of the way to provide as much help as possible.”
Confirming Frank’s resignation Thampu said, “Yes, he has (resigned). It’s a personal decision and I can’t do anything about it.”