He’s a doctor and an advocate

2017-03-02 11:34
After a long court battle Rakesh Mohanlal is able to practise as both an advocate and a medical doctor.

After a long court battle Rakesh Mohanlal is able to practise as both an advocate and a medical doctor. (Omega Moagi)

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Rakesh Mohanlal made history by being the first to gain approval from the National Bar Council of South Africa to practise as an advocate as well as a medical doctor.

After completing his advocacy qualification in just three years instead of the recommended six, advocate and medical doctor Mohanlal had to further battle in court for his right to practise both professions, and five appeals later his dream has become a reality.

“My case had a full bench court case meaning three judges handled it. I had to submit five supplementary applications arguing that I met all the criteria to become an advocate and a medical doctor and there was no rule in the South African law to bar me from practising both professions,” said Mohanlal.

The argument that Mohanlal was trying to pursue two incompatible professions was eventually overruled. He described the outcome as “a legal milestone”.

“It was not that I was the first to ever practise both professions, I am just the first to disclose them to the bar council in my application,” said Mohanlal.

Mohanlal said he also intended practising these professions parallel to one another.

“I am currently studying my master’s in medical law. And I want to change the face of the law in South Africa particularly in relation to medicine,” said Mohanlal.

Mohanlal said he wants to bridge the gap in access to medical facilities between the elite and the poor in the country.

“We all have a right to access quality health care and it is not fair that only a few elite can afford it while many die aimlessly because they cannot afford [to pay],” said Mohanlal.

Activism and giving back have always been a part of Mohanlal’s life as he became involved in political activism in high school, during apartheid.

“I was a member of what is now called the United Democratic Movement (UDM) and we held numerous protests against the apartheid government especially apartheid in the schooling system,” said Mohanlal.

Ironically, he was told as a pupil that he would never be able to graduate from the South African schooling system because of his refusal to learn the Afrikaans language.

In addition to his legal and medical qualifications, Mohanlal holds an MBA, which he says is a useful degree to have that assists in managing one’s finances.

The divorced father of two girls said his first brush with the courts was during his battle to take over custody of his girls, which he, in a rare case, won.

“I’ve always been one to defy boundaries. I believe that if you believe in something, go for it with all you’ve got. I’ve been working since I was 12 years old vacuuming floors in local shops, but here I am today. Hard work really goes a long way,” said Mohanlal.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg

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