Monday, April 19, 2021

Bhagat files appeal challenging judgment against him

After the Botswana Health Professions Council (BHPC) instructed Dr Kiran Bhagat to stop practicing medicine in Botswana, his lawyer, Reuben Kamushinda, has filed an appeal in the Court of Appeal, challenging the judgment handed down by the High Court earlier in the week.

The BHPC gave the instruction to Bhagat following Lobatse High Court judge Michael Leburu’s judgment, which, amongst other things, found that Bhagat had forged some of his certificates.

In his grounds of appeal, Kamushinda, amongst other things, submits that the judge had erred in law in finding that his client, Bhagat, lacked the right to bring the matter before the Court as Bhagat had a direct and substantial interest in the subject matter.

Kamushinda said that Judge Leburu had erred in law in finding that the matter had been brought to Court in terms of the BHPC Act when he ought to have found that it was brought as a common law review against the decision of BHPC, made in its purported discharge of its duties.

Kamushinda further submitted that, in finding as he did, that Bhagat had been registered in terms of BHPC Act, the judge erred in finding that such registration was not lawful or valid and had no legal force and effect.

Alternatively, he added, the judge erred in law and fact failing to find that BHPC had failed in its obligation in terms of law to ensure that all the necessary steps were taken to perfect the registration of Bhagat to practice medicine in Botswana.

Kamushinda also submitted that the judge erred in finding that Bhagat had used a practicing card in the name of Kaushiki Kumar Bhagat to obtain permission to set up a cardiology practice in Gaborone when he had no basis in the affidavit to make such findings and, in so doing, had no regard to the fact that the letter authorizing such establishment of a cardiology practice was addressed to Dr Kiran Bhagat and not Kaushiki Bhagat.

Kamushinda also submitted that Leburu erred in finding that Bhagat, when renewing his registration status, submitted, as proof of his registration, a practicing card in the name of Kaushiki Kumar Bhagat.

Kamushinda said that, in so doing, the judge had failed to take into account the fact that the practicing certificate was issued by BHPC or its predecessor, and not by Bhagat and that Bhagat had no control over the cards issued to him between 2000 and 2006.

The lawyer said that the judge had erred in failing to take into account the fact that Registration Number 1B53 was allocated to Bhagat by BHPC and its predecessor and was used by him purely on those grounds.

Attempts to get a comment from BHPC on whether they would be opposing the appeal were fruitless but the Council had eelier on Friday issued a press statement to the effect that they had ordered Bhagat to stop practicing medicine in the country and that all stakeholders had been informed of this decision.

The statement further said that patients who were attended to by Bhagat have been advised to seek medical assistance from their general practitioners to access alternative care.

RELATED STORIES

Read this week's paper