Thursday, February 25, 2021

Court rules against Dr Bhagat

Lobatse High Court judge Michael Leburu has dismissed with costs, on a punitive scale of attorney and client, an application brought by Kiran Bhagat demanding, amongst others, that the Botswana Health Professions Council (BHPC) register him as a cardiologist.

Bhagat had demanded that the whole decision taken by the BHPC on or about March 13, 2010 in which BHPC refused to register him as a cardiologist and restricted the scope of his medical practice to that of general physician be reviewed and set aside.

He sought for the BHPC to be ordered to recognize him as a medical practitioner who is qualified and entitled to be registered and to practice as and call himself a special physician and cardiologist.

Dismissing the application, Leburu said that on the issue of whether Bhagat was ever procedurally and lawfully registered as a medical practitioner either under the auspices of the previous or current Act of BHPC, he was never registered and, as such, lacked standing to bring the proceedings before him.

Leburu further said that in the manually, hand-written register, which was produced, Bhagat’s name and credentials are not reflected. His name only appears in the newly computerized register.

The judge said, to be in the register, the concerned practitioner should have been issued with a registration certificate and that he finds that Bhagat was never registered as a medical practitioner in 1996 as stated in the letter to BHPC.

Leburu said that the letter, particularly his registration status and date of registration in the year 1996 was “a complete fabrication, devoid of any semblance of truth”.

This, he said, was “pure dishonesty on the part of Bhagat to have stated that he was first registered in 1996”.

The judge said that the relevance of 1996 is that it is the year his cousin, Kaushik Bhagat, obtained registration as a medical practitioner in Botswana, adding that the applicant, Karin Bhagat, had used his cousin’s card as his and even signed purporting it to be his.

Leburu said, in his view, this is a competent and appropriate case in which the Court should show its disapproval of Bhagat’s conduct with a punitive order of costs.

Leburu said this is premised on Bhagat’s reprehensible conduct spanning over a decade in which he masqueraded as Kaushik and coiled a pungent web of lies, dishonesty and deceit and practiced medicine without lawful and proper registration.

Finally, he ordered the Registrar and Master of the High Court to transmit a copy of the judgment to the Directorate of Public Prosecution for further investigations and possible prosecution.

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