Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Court reserves ruling on Dr Bhagat

Justice Michael Leburu has deferred to a yet to be named date the ruling on a case in which the Botswana Health Professionals Council (BHPC) is seeking a court injunction to stop Gaborone-based physician, Dr Kiran Bhagat, from practicing in the country ‘until he is properly registered’. BHPC had decided to stop Bhagat from practicing medicine on the grounds that he was not properly registered and that he is an impostor. In their presentation before the High Court, the BHPC had claimed that Dr Bhagat had used the name of a certain Dr Kaushik Kumar B Bhagat to get a permit to practice in Botswana.

The BHPC had also alleged that Bhagat was not eligible to practice as a cardiologist.

Responding to arguments presented by Advocate Adrian de Bourbon, who is representing Dr Bhagat, attorney Kgalalelo Monthe said Dr Bhagat had never registered with either the BHPC or its predecessor, the Botswana Medical Council, hence his continued practice in Botswana was illegal.

Monthe told the court that contrary to Dr Bhagat’s claims that he had registered, the Doctor never had any formal registration certificate save for the blue cards sent to him under the name of Dr Kaoshik Bhagat.

He argued that the fact that the doctor had used Kaoshik Bhagat’s blue cards since his registration in 2001 until 2006 does not show him as a man of honour.

Earlier when presenting his client’s arguments before court, de Bourbon said the attempt by the BHPC to stop his ‘client from practising until he is formally registered’ as well as the accusations levelled against him were just an attempt to stall the defamation lawsuit he intended to slap them with.

He described Bhagat as a man of honour, saying all the arguments put before the court by the BHPC were a result of the confusion from both BHPC and the junior staff at the Ministry of Health (MoH).

He said whoever handled Dr Bhagat’s registration application in 2001 made a mistake and assumed that he (Bhagat) was the same Kaoshik Bhagat who had applied to practice in Botswana in 1996.
De Bourbon said Dr Bhagat made a ‘small’ mistake as he used Kaoshik’s blue cards up until 2006, when he formally called upon the BHPC to ‘change’ the name and use his proper name.

de Bourbon also argued that Dr Baghat also made a mistake in his letter to the BHPC, seeking a name change when he said ‘he was registered in 1996,’ a year in which Kaoshik was registered. He argued that the fact that Dr Bhagat was formally registered under his own name in 2006 shows that the council had accepted that they had been dealing with him, not Kaoshik.

Monthe, however, counter argued that the ‘small mistakes’ made by Bhagat were fatal mistakes, asking whether it was coincidence that Dr Bhagat stated in his letter to the BHPC that he started practicing in 1996, a year on which Kaoshik, whose blue cards Bhagat was using for close to six years was registered. He said the granting of a practice certificate to Dr Bhagat in 2006 was based on the same mistaken letter, which stated he was registered in 1996. He requested that should the court find that Dr Bhagat was not properly registered, punitive measures be taken against him.

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