MUMBAI: Four proctors—two each from Gurgaon and Bengaluru—who allegedly harassed girl students from a premier city management institute after remotely proctoring their exams, have been terminated from their service by their agency. While the Gurgaon-based agency said it had reported the matter to the police, the institute is yet to file a complaint. The institute has set up an internal committee to investigate the complaints.
TOI on Saturday had reported how girl students from the institute were allegedly stalked and harassed by individuals claiming to be their proctors on personal numbers after exams. While many have criticized the institute for compromising students’ personal details, officials from the institute and the firm, Mercer Mettl, said personal data of students are not shared with the proctors. An institute official told TOI the students are expected to show their college identity cards (which carry their numbers) on camera for a few seconds before the exam starts, to ensure dummy candidates are not appearing in their place.
“It is unfortunate that this small window has been used by the perpetrators,” said the official. He said around six girls have reported the matter to them. When asked why the institute has not filed an independent complaint, the official said they are contemplating it and will consult their legal team before initiating action by Monday.
A spokesperson from Mercer Mettl said they have been providing online solutions for educational institutions for the past four years. “We follow a rigorous screening process before appointing the exam proctors and train them in using the software. We have around 1,500 proctors working for us. This was an unfortunate incident. We have already identified the proctors who messaged students from our platform and have terminated their services. A written apology has been sought, which has been shared with the students. A police complaint has been filed in both these locations and we will pursue it till there is a proper closure,” he said. The agency has appointed 200 female proctors after the incident.
The posts of upset students went viral on social media.
Women’s activist and advocate Flavia Agnes said, “Sinceproctoring was outsourced by the institute, it is implied when students share their ID for verification, it is not meant to be used by the proctor for any other purpose, least of all for unwanted or inappropriate communication and violation of privacy.” Advocate Pranav Badheka said, “If the students have already complained to the institute, then it can even file an FIR for the offence of stalking under the IT Act and the IPC.”