Court upholds College jurisdiction
The Divisional Court of the Ontario Supreme Court has dismissed Jagdish Bhadauria's appeal of his suspension by the College for professional misconduct.
Bhadauria launched the appeal after he was found guilty of professional misconduct by a panel of the College's Discipline Committee, which suspended his teaching certificate for 18 months in 2003. A substantial part of the allegations against the member concerned two offensive and threatening letters he wrote to an official of the Toronto Board of Education in 1989, for which he was dismissed.
Bhadauria's appeal argued that the College had no jurisdiction over the matter because the letters related to labour relations and not professional misconduct, because the College was not in existence at the time the letters were written and because of the length of time that had passed between when he wrote the letters and the discipline panel's decision.
The written decision of the court stated that there was no doubt that Bhadauria's conduct constituted professional misconduct and that the panel of the Discipline Committee was "entirely reasonable" in considering it as such.
The court also rejected Bhadauria's argument that the College does not have jurisdiction over conduct that occurred before the College was created. The court decision stated that its conclusion was strengthened by the fact that the College's primary mandate is to protect the public interest, which outweighs any concerns about the retrospective effect of the legislation that established the College.
On the issue of delay, although the court acknowledged there were delays - for some of which the College was responsible - there was not an abuse of process and the delays did not impair the fairness of the hearing or impugn the disciplinary proceedings.
In response to Bhadauria's contention that the penalty imposed by the College was too harsh, the court's written decision stated that in its view, "the Discipline Committee composed of the appellant's peers is much better situated to say what the appropriate penalty is than is this Court."