Mr Justice Fordham refuse application by Dr Ramaswamy to revoke an Interim Conditional Registration Order imposed by an MPTS’ Interim Order Tribunal Panel.

We have previously reported on the ongoing legal battle between Dr Ramaswamy and the General Medical Council (GMC).

In the latest case, Ramaswamy v General Medical Council [2023] EWHC 100 (Admin), Dr Ramaswamy applied to the High Court for a revocation of the an Interim Conditional Registration Order imposed by an MPTS’ Interim Order Tribunal Panel.

The background to this, and the other cases, relates to concerns by the GMC as to Dr Ramaswamy’s mental health.  The concern stems from “an intimate sexual relationship” with another consultant doctor that ended.  The other doctor sought to deny ever having had the relationship, and as a result, Dr Ramaswamy was suspected of having a delusional belief about its existence.

Dr Ramaswamy however maintained that her conduct is based on her cultural and religious beliefs about the sanctity of relationships. She maintains that, in accordance with Hindu custom, she was married to the consultant doctor.

Dr Ramaswamy’s health was assessed by clinicians on various occasions as part of her employer’s investigations and occupational health requirements but was found that she was not suffering from any delusional order of any kind.

However, in August 2018, the GMC opened an investigation because of concerns arising out of correspondence which Dr Ramaswamy’s had sent to the GMC in the context of its earlier investigation, whose content and tone raised concerns about her health.

This resulted in the GMC issuing Directions for Health Assessment, requiring Dr Ramaswamy to undergo a health assessment.  Following allegations of  alleged “non-compliance”, Dr Ramaswamy was suspended for 9 months in 2020. This suspension, in effect, replaced the Interim Conditional Registration Order.

Dr Ramaswamy challenged the imposition of the 9-month Suspension Order. Fordham J summarised the outcome and consequences, saying:

“In the 2021 Judgment Morris J found that the failure to adjourn the “non-compliance hearing” in January 2021 had been procedurally unfair. He quashed the Non-Compliance Determination and the SO. Since the previous ICRO had been revoked and replaced by the SO, the consequence of the 2021 Judgment was that no interim order – and no restriction on the Claimant’s registration – was in place from 15 June 2021. In those circumstances a decision was made on 24 June 2021 (communicated on 30 June 2021) to refer to the Tribunal the question of whether to impose an interim order. Then, on 14 September 2021, the Tribunal imposed the ICRO which the Claimant seeks to have revoked by this Court.”

Fordham went on to discuss the extensive grounds and arguments in the sections following this, but ultimately concluded that he was unable to accept these arguments, saying:

“In my judgment, the Determination of the Tribunal, and the outcome at which it arrived, was fully justified. In my judgment, the Tribunal did not go “wrong” in its approach, in its reasoning, or in its conclusions. On the contrary – and taking my “original” jurisdiction at its most exacting in the Claimant’s favour – the outcome was, in my judgment, correct and I agree with it. I will explain why, by reference to the key submissions made by Mr Hare KC on behalf of the Defendant, I have reached these conclusions.

“This case exemplifies the general truth, identified in the Guidance and in the authorities, that it is not the function of the Tribunal or this Court – in dealing with “interim” orders – to try to arrive at definitive conclusions on contentious factual matters. As the Tribunal recognised, the question of interim orders raises questions of risk-assessment, questions about the sufficiency of the quality of the evidence, questions of necessity and of proportionality. This claim is, as I have explained, a sustained challenge to the ICRO invoking a statutory entitlement to access this Court for that purpose. In my judgment, the outcome at which the Tribunal arrived was wholly justified. Indeed, I agree with it. In all the circumstances, and for all these reasons, the claim will be dismissed.”

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