Full SC bench to decide Yunus’ fate

Hearing on Mar 15; move on to find new MD for Grameen Bank
Nobel laureate Dr Muhammad Yunus yesterday filed an appeal with the Supreme Court in a final attempt to stay as the managing director of Grameen Bank he founded nearly three decades ago.
In the appeal filed with Supreme Court chamber judge Justice Syed Mahmud Hossain, Dr Yunus sought a stay on a High Court ruling that upheld his removal by the Bangladesh Bank on grounds that he was past 60-year retirement age.
The chamber judge briefly heard arguments from both sides and sent the appeal to the full bench of the Supreme Court for a full-fledged hearing on March 15.
Also yesterday, nine members of the board of directors of Grameen Bank filed a similar petition with the apex court. The hearing on this one will also be held in the full bench on March 15.
Last week, Bangladesh Bank sent a letter to Grameen Bank removing Dr Yunus as its managing director saying that the 70-year-old micro-credit pioneer was holding the post illegally.
Yunus challenged the order in the High Court. The High Court rejected Yunus’ petition and upheld Bangladesh Bank’s order.
Meanwhile, prosecution and defence lawyers differed on whether Yunus can continue as Grameen MD until the Supreme Court’s full-bench hearing on March 15.
Yunus’ counsel barrister Rokanuddin Mahmud told reporters that whether Yunus can function as MD of Grameen Bank is sub judice. “It will be decent for the government or Bangladesh Bank not to take any action in this respect until March 15,” he said.
Replying to a question on whether it will be a contempt of court if Dr Yunus holds the office till March 15, Rokanuddin said he did not think so. He said Bangladesh Bank’s letter did not say that his dismissal would be executed immediately.
Attorney General Mahbubey Alam disagreed with Rokanuddin. He told reporters that the HC verdict is still in force since the chamber judge did not stay its operation.
“If Dr Muhammad Yunus continues as managing director of Grameen Bank now, that will be against the High Court verdict and will be similar to contempt of court,” he said.
Meanwhile, Finance Minister AMA Muhith yesterday talked to reporters about the procedures of appointing Grameen Bank MD.
He said a search committee has to be formed to suggest names. Grameen board of directors will then appoint the MD on the basis of the committee’s suggestion.
In their appeals yesterday, Dr Muhammad Yunus and nine members of board of directors said the HC verdict was “entirely perverse” since it was passed without issuing any rule.
It was in total departure from all ordinary norms of practice, and giving a disingenuous impression of hearing the parties, while amounting to a total denial of justice, the petitioners said.
They said they are aggrieved by the “wholly perverse judgment” and intended to file a regular leave-to-appeal petition against the verdict.
Arguing for the appeals yesterday Rokanuddin told the chamber judge that the dispute over the age limit of Prof Yunus was settled at a joint meeting of Bangladesh Bank and Grameen Bank in 1999, court sources said.
The central bank did not raise any objection in this regard till March 2, when the removal letter was issued, he reportedly said.
The attorney general vehemently opposed the appeals, saying that the HC has given the verdict after examining the relevant laws and hearing arguments from the counsels, said sources close to the court.

 

Courtesy of The Daily Star

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