PART II – THE COUNCIL

PART II – THE COUNCIL

Sub-Part A – Establishment and Functions of Council

3. Establishment of Council

(1) There is established for the purposes of this Act a Council which shall be known as the Dental Council of Mauritius.

(2) The Council shall be a body corporate.

4. Composition of Council

(1) The Council shall consist of—

(a) 7 registered dental surgeons, including dental specialists;

(b) a representative of the Ministry responsible for the subject of health, who is registered as dental surgeon or dental specialist;

(c) 3 persons, who are neither dental surgeons nor dental specialists, appointed by the Minister.

(2) The 7 members referred to in subsection (1) (a) shall, subject to subsection (4), be elected in accordance with the rules set out in the Schedule from among dental surgeons or dental specialists having at least 10 years’ experience.

(3) Out of the 7 members to be elected, 2 shall be public officers.

(4) For the purposes of an election of the members of the Council, a dental surgeon or dental specialist shall vote for—

(a) not more than 2 dental surgeons or dental specialists who are public officers; and

(b) not more than 5 dental surgeons or dental specialists who are not public officers.

(5) The composition of the Council shall be published in the Gazette.

5. Tenure of office of members

The members of the Council shall hold office for a period of 3 years and shall—

(a) in the case of the members referred to in section 4 (1) (a), be eligible for re-election;

(b) in the case of the members referred to in section 4 (1) (c), be eligible for reappointment.

6. Vacation of office of member

(1) The Council may require a member to vacate his office if he—

(a) commits a professional misconduct or negligence, or breach of trust in the discharge of his duties as a member or otherwise, which in the opinion of the Council renders him unfit to be a member;

[Amended 12/19 (cio 1/8/19).]

(b) is incapacitated by prolonged physical or mental illness;

(c) retires, resigns or is dismissed from the public service after having been elected from among dental surgeons or dental specialists who are public officers;

(d) becomes a public officer after having been elected from amongst dental surgeons or dental specialist who are not public officers;

(e) is convicted of an offence of such nature as, in the opinion of the Council, renders him unfit to be a member;

(f) is absent, without leave of the Council, from 2 consecutive meetings of the Council of which he had notice; or

(g) is disqualified under this Act from practising his profession.

(2) A member may resign by giving notice in writing to the Registrar of the Council.

(3) Where a member resigns under subsection (2), his seat shall become vacant when the Registrar receives the notice.

(4) The Council may suspend from office a member of the Council against whom—

(a) criminal proceedings are instituted for an offence punishable by imprisonment;

(b) disciplinary proceedings are instituted by the Council or Public Service Commission, as the case may be.

[RR 12/19 (cio 1/8/19).]

[S. 6 amended by s. 4 of Act 12 of 2019 w.e.f. 1 August 2019.]

7. Filling of vacancies on Council

(1) If a member of the Council dies, resigns or is removed from office, the vacancy thereby caused shall be filled—

(a) in the case of a member appointed by the Minister, by a fresh appointment;

(b) in the case of a member elected from amongst public officers, by appointing the public officer who obtained the highest number of votes after the elected public officers at the election held immediately before the vacancy arose;

(c) in the case of a member who is not a public officer, by appointing the person who, not being a public officer, obtained the highest number of votes after the members elected, from among persons who are not public officers, at the election held immediately before the vacancy arose;

(d) by holding a fresh election if no person qualifies for appointment under paragraph (b) or (c).

(2) Where a member absents himself with the approval of the Council for a continuous period of 6 months or more, the Council may cause him to be replaced by a member appointed in the manner specified in subsection (1) (a), (1) (b) or (1) (c), as the case may be.

(3) A member appointed under subsection (2) shall remain in office for such period as the Council may determine.

8. Chairperson of Council

(1) The Council shall elect a member who is elected under section 4 (2) as its Chairperson.

(2) The Chairperson shall preside at every meeting of the Council.

(3) The Chairperson shall, in the event of an equality of votes, have a casting vote.

(4) When the Chairperson is absent from a meeting, the members present shall elect one of the members elected under section 4 (2) to chair the meeting.

9. Meetings of Council

(1) Six members, including the Chairperson, shall constitute a quorum at any meeting.

(2) The validity of any decision, proceeding or act of the Council or act done on the authority of the Council, shall not be affected by—

(a) any vacancy among the members thereof;

(b) any defect in the appointment of a member thereof; or

(c) the fact that some person who was not entitled to do so took part in the deliberation of the Council.

(3) The Council shall meet at least 3 times each year.

(4) A special meeting of the Council—

(a) may be convened by the Chairperson at any time;

(b) shall be convened by the Chairperson within 7 days of the receipt by him of a request in writing signed by not less than6 members of the Council and specifying the purpose for which the meeting is to be convened.

(5) The Council may set up a committee of 2 or more members for such purpose as it may determine.

10. Registrar

(1) There shall be a Registrar of the Council who shall be a dental surgeon or dental specialist registered under the Dental Council or a registered medical practitioner under the Medical Council Act.

(2) The Registrar shall be appointed by the Council and shall hold office on such terms and conditions as the Council thinks fit.

(3) The Registrar shall be responsible to the Council for—

(a) the proper administration of the Council;

(b) executing all decisions of the Council; and

(c) carrying out such duties as may be assigned to him by the Council.

(4) In the exercise of his functions, the Registrar shall act in accordance with such directions as he may receive from the Council.

(5) The Registrar shall also be the Secretary to the Council.

(6) If the Registrar is for any reason unable to carry out his functions, the Council may appoint another person to act as Registrar.

(7) Service of any process by, or on behalf of, the Council shall be sufficient if made by, or on behalf of, the Registrar.

11. Appointment of employees

(1) The Council may, on such terms and conditions as it thinks fit, appoint such employees as it considers necessary for the proper discharge of its functions under this Act.

(2) Every employee of the Council shall be under the administrative control of the Registrar.

12. Functions of Council

The Council shall—

(a) exercise and maintain discipline in the practice of dentistry;

(b) advise the Minister on any matter governed by the provisions of this Act or any matter connected therewith or incidental thereto;

(c) establish a Code of Practice for the dental profession on standards of professional conduct and dental ethics and monitor compliance with such a code;

(d) organise such examination, including clinical or practical examination or assessment in dental surgery, prior to registration as the Council may deem fit;

(e) promote education and training of dental surgeons and specialists generally;

(f) notwithstanding the Mauritius Qualifications Authority Act and the Higher Education Act, be the sole authority empowered to—

[Amended 23/17 (cio 16/1/2020).]

(i) pronounce on all matters relating to the recognition and equivalence of any qualification for the practice of dentistry;

(ii) define the criteria which govern the comparability of any qualification for the practice of dentistry;

(g) keep a record of all its proceedings and decisions; and

(h) publish the annual list.

[S.1 2 amended by s. 53(2) of Act 23 of 2017 w.e.f. 16 January 2020.]

Sub-Part B – Discipline

13. Preliminary investigation by Council

(1) The Council may investigate into any complaint of professional misconduct or negligence against a registered person, including a registered person in respect of whom it holds a delegated power.

[RR 12/19 (cio 1/8/19).]

(2) Where the Council investigates a complaint under subsection (1), it –

(a) shall notify the registered person, whose conduct, act or omission is under investigation, of the nature of the complaint against him;

(b) may visit or inspect the premises where the alleged professional misconduct or negligence has occurred;

(c) may summon and hear the registered person who shall be given an opportunity of being assisted by a legal representative of his choice;

(d) may summon and hear witnesses;

(e) may call for the communication or production of any relevant record, document or article; and

(f) shall submit its report not later than 3 months as from the date the investigation starts.

[RR 12/19 (cio 1/8/19).]

(3) The Council shall keep a proper record of its proceedings under subsection (2).

(4) Notwithstanding section 9 (1), for the purposes of an investigation under subsection (1), the Council shall consist of not less than 3 members designated by the Council.

(5) Where, in the course of an investigation, a person refuses to give evidence, or to communicate or produce any record, document or article, on the ground of confidentiality, the Registrar may apply to a Judge sitting in Chambers for an order directing that person to disclose the evidence required or communicate any document needed for the purposes of the investigation.

[Amended 12/19 (cio 1/8/19).]

(6) The Judge shall make an order under subsection (5) if he is satisfied that the evidence, record, document or article the disclosure of which is sought is bona fide required for the purposes of the investigation.

[Amended 12/19 (cio 1/8/19).]

(7) A member who –

(a) is closely related to a registered person whose conduct, act or omission is under preliminary investigation;

(b) has any pecuniary or other personal interest in the subject matter of a preliminary investigation,

shall disclose his relationship or interest, as the case may be, and refrain from participating in the investigation.

[Added 12/19 (cio 1/8/19).]

[S. 13 amended by s. 4 of Act 12 of 2019 w.e.f. 1 August 2019.]

14. Disciplinary proceedings

(1) (a) Where, after having carried out a preliminary investigation, the Council determines that there is prima facie evidence of professional misconduct or negligence against the registered person, the Council may, subject to subsection (3), institute disciplinary proceedings against him before the Tribunal.

(b) Where disciplinary proceedings are instituted under paragraph (a), the Council shall, at the same time, notify the Ministry thereof.

(2) Where, upon a determination under subsection (1), the Council considers that the conduct, act or omission of the registered person is of such a serious nature that he should, in the public interest, instantly cease to practise, the Council –

(a) may, in the case of a registered person in respect of whom the Council does not hold a delegated power, suspend him temporarily as a registered person for a period not exceeding such time as the Council –

(i) takes any disciplinary measures against him under section 17(4)(a); or

(ii) gives him notice, under section 17(6)(a), that the charge against him has not been proved; or

(b) shall, in the case of a registered person in respect of whom the Council holds a delegated power, report the temporary suspension to the Public Service Commission for the Commission’s decision on any such suspension.

(3) Where, pursuant to subsection (2)(a), the Council suspends a registered person temporarily, it shall, not later than 7 days of such suspension, institute disciplinary proceedings against him before the Tribunal.

[RR 12/19 (cio 1/8/19).]

[S. 14 amended by s. 2 of Act 12 of 2019 w.e.f. 1 August 2019.]

15. –

[S. 15 repealed by s. 2 of Act 12 of 2019 w.e.f. 1 August 2019.]

16. Membership of Tribunal

(1) Notwithstanding section 15 (2) (b) of the Medical Council Act, in relation to a matter referred to the Tribunal under section 14, the Minister shall, subject to subsections (2) and (3), appoint 2 persons who—

[Amended 12/19 (cio 1/8/19).]

(a) are registered as dental surgeons or dental specialists; and

(b) have not less than 10 years’ experience in the practice of dentistry,

as members of the Tribunal.

(2) The Minister shall not appoint a member of the Council as a member of the Tribunal.

[Amended 12/19 (cio 1/8/19).]

(3) The Minister may appoint a person who is not registered under this Act as member of the Tribunal, if the Minister is satisfied that the person—

(a) has wide experience in the practice of dentistry;

(b) is registered as dental surgeon or dental specialist outside Mauritius.

[Amended 12/19 (cio 1/8/19).]

[S. 16 amended by s. 4 of Act 12 of 2019 w.e.f. 1 August 2019.]

17. Disciplinary measures

(1) The Tribunal shall, pursuant to disciplinary proceedings instituted against a registered person, hear and determine the matter not later than 90 days after the start of the hearing of the proceedings, except where there is a valid reason, and with the consent of the parties.

(2) The Tribunal shall, not later than 3 days after a determination under subsection (1), forward to the Council its report and a copy of its proceedings, including any record, document or article produced.

(3) The Tribunal shall not, in its report, make any recommendation regarding the form of disciplinary measure.

(4) Where the report is in relation to a registered person, other than a registered person in respect of whom the Council holds a delegated power, and states that –

(a) the charge has been proved, the Council may, not later than 14 days after receipt of the report –

(i) administer him a reprimand or a severe reprimand;

(ii) suspend him as a registered person for a period not exceeding 2 years; or

(iii) deregister him as a registered person; or

(b) (i) the registered person has prescribed a dangerous drug to any person which is in excess of the amount that is properly required for the medical treatment of that person; or

(ii) the registered person has prescribed a dangerous drug to any person knowing that such a prescription is not required for the medical treatment of that person,

the Council shall, in addition to any disciplinary measures under paragraph (a), make a recommendation to the Minister in accordance with section 9(6) of the Dangerous Drugs Act.

(5) (a) Where the report referred to in subsection (4) is in relation to a registered person in respect of whom the Council holds a delegated power, the Council shall submit its own report to the Public Service Commission, in accordance with regulation 46E of the Public Service Commission Regulations.

(b) Where the punishment inflicted by the Public Service Commission on a registered person, in respect of whom the Council holds a delegated power, is dismissal or retirement in the interest of the public service, the Council shall, not later than 14 days of the decision of the Public Service Commission, determine whether or not it shall suspend or deregister him as a registered person.

(6) Where there is finding that the charge has not been proved against the registered person, the Council shall, not later than 14 days after receipt of the report –

(a) notify the registered person, in writing, of such finding; and

(b) where the Council holds a delegated power in respect of the registered person, send a copy of the notice required under paragraph (a) to the Public Service Commission.

[S. 17 repealed and replaced by s. 4 of Act 12 of 2019 w.e.f. 1 August 2019.]

18. Other disciplinary measures

(1) Without any of the proceedings provided for in sections 13, 14 and 17 being instituted, the Council shall, where a registered person has been convicted of an offence and is serving a sentence of imprisonment or penal servitude –

(a) suspend him as a registered person for such time as the Council may determine; or

(b) give him an opportunity to show cause why he shall not be deregistered as a registered person.

(2) The Registrar shall cause any suspension or deregistration under this Act to be published in the Gazette and in 2 daily newspapers.

[S. 18 repealed and replaced by s. 2 of Act 12 of 2019 w.e.f. 1 August 2019.]

19. Summary proceedings

Where the Council is satisfied, after having carried out a preliminary investigation against a registered person, other than a registered person in respect of whom the Council holds a delegated power, that he has committed an act or omission which, in its opinion, is not considered to be of a serious nature, it may, notwithstanding section 14(1)(a), administer him a warning or severe warning.

[RR 12/19 (cio 1/8/19).]

[S. 19 repealed and replaced by s. 4 of Act 12 of 2019 w.e.f. 1 August 2019.]