NATION

Leave Granted For Judicial Review

The President of the Fiji Dental Association (FDA) Dr Vikash Singh was granted leave for a judicial review in the Suva High Court on Thursday. Dr Singh had initiated proceedings seeking
24 Jun 2018 12:52
Leave Granted For Judicial Review
President of the Fiji Dental Association Dr Vikash Singh (right) with his lawyer, Lynette Prasad, after the High Court Justice Deepthi Amaratunga delivered his judgment on June 21, 2018. Photo: Selita Bolanavanua

The President of the Fiji Dental Association (FDA) Dr Vikash Singh was granted leave for a judicial review in the Suva High Court on Thursday.

Dr Singh had initiated proceedings seeking leave for a judicial review of a complaint filed by the Registrar and Chief Executive Officer of the Fiji Medical and Dental Secretariat on behalf of the Fiji Dental Council (FDC).

Dr Singh also sought a stay of hearing of the complaint by the dental council and the dental secretariat.

Dr Singh had been the President of FDA since 2010 and had refused to submit his individual indemnity cover as requested by the registrar when submitting his application for renewal of licence to practice in 2017, but had done so in 2018 about three weeks before the expiration of the time period under indemnity cover.

Dr Singh also challenged the actions of the registrar on the basis of ultra vires and bias in that they had no jurisdiction to refer the matter to the tribunal.

The judicial review sought an order to quash the complaint against Dr Singh and prohibition against the determination of the complaint by the tribunal and/or a declaration that the complaint was null and void.

Dr Singh also sought to stay proceedings before the Medical and Dental Professional Conduct Tribunal until the final determination of the judicial review.

Justice Deepthi Amaratunga said the non-submission of individual indemnity cover for professional duties was due to a long overdue policy dispute regarding the compliance of Sections 45 (6) and 52 (1) of the Medical and Dental Practitioners Act of 2010.

Numerous emails were exchanged between Dr Singh and the relevant authorities including the Permanent Secretary to the Ministry of Health.

Failure to resolve the issue of the individual indemnity certificate of members of FDA resulted in Dr Singh not being issued with a practicing certificate from March 2017.

Subsequently, the registrar laid a complaint against Dr Singh to the tribunal for practicing without a valid practicing licence.

Justice Amaratunga said FDC was required to define the proper evidence that an applicant needed to submit in relation to indemnity insurance.

He said the issue affected professionals and patients because Dr Singh had raised an issue of cost in obtaining individual insurance cover as opposed to a group insurance cover.

He said those were matters of policy that needed careful consideration by FDC before deliberating in terms of recommending evidence of indemnity cover and its “manner and extent”.

Justice Amaratunga said though the registrar was the authority to issue a licence he was obliged to accept evidence of indemnity insurance required by FDC, but no determination of FDC as to the manner and extent of indemnity cover presented.

He said this resulted in the impasse between Dr Singh and the dental council and dental secretariat.

Justice Amaratunga said he was satisfied that there were arguable cases for determination in the judicial review application.

The granting of the judicial review will operate as stay of proceedings against Dr Singh filed on May 9, 2018, before the Medical and Dental Professional Conduct Tribunal until the final determination of the review or an order is made contrary to that.

Edited by Epineri Vula

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