Unmukt allowed by DU VC to move into 2nd yr

New Delhi: India`s Under-19 cricket captain Unmukt Chand won his battle with his St Stephen`s College Friday, with Delhi University allowing him to move to the second year and complete his first year exams in the forthcoming semesters, recognising his case as "rarest of rare".

With much hue and cry raised over St Stephen`s decision to bar Unmukt from exams due to low attendance, Vice Chancellor Dinesh Singh, who received a phone call from Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal, intervened in the matter, allowing him "to move to the second year of study".

He would be allowed "to clear his examinations during the course of third and fourth semesters for the backlog of the first two semesters," Singh told reporters.

Unmukt, who captained the Under-19 Indian side to World Cup victory recently, had earlier moved the Delhi High Court against St Stephen`s College. "He has done so much for the country. We will recognise that… The situation has been very unfortunate. The University has been very liberal in this regard. The college did not bring it to our notice. We would have helped them earlier. Nobody, not even Unmukt, approached us. I wish he had come to us earlier," Singh said.

Sibal had Thursday spoken to both Singh and St Stephen`s Principal Valson Thampu. Singh had Thursday indicated his "positive inclination" on addressing the issue in Unmukt`s favour. Union Sports Minister Ajay Maken had also written a letter to Singh in this regard.

"Unmukt has distinguished himself and brought laurels to the nation through his exploits in the field of cricket by not only representing his country but also by playing a crucial role in helping India to win the U-19 World Cup," he said.

The University recognised his outstanding achievement in a field of sport and comes under the category of "rarest of rare" cases under its regulations and so they decided to take a liberal approach on the issue, Singh said.

Unmukt was refused an admit card ahead of his second semester exam in May but the court intervened and asked the college to allow him to sit for the exams. However, he could appear only in two out of four papers as by the time the court ruling came he had already missed two exams. His results, and hence promotion, were withheld pending the court proceedings.

Delhi University rules mandate a student to have at least 33.3 per cent attendance in an academic session after all exemptions but the 19-year-old could not attend the required number of classes owing to his cricketing engagements.

Thampu had said he was only upholding the University regulations while refusing Unmukt an admit card. "I came to know (about the case) only two days back. We need to redefine education. If you look at a person like Pullela Gopichand, I have no idea what degrees he has, but I consider him more educated that someone having a doctorate degree," said Singh, while emphasising that sports should be considered at par with academics.

A number of former alumni of the college as well as Indian cricket captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, had spoken out in favour of Unmukt. Maken had written to the Vice Chancellor Thursday that such episodes were discouraging for young sports persons.