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Date: 2024-03-01 Page is: DBtxt001.php txt00000027

Country ... Bangladesh
The Political Battle over Grameen Bank

Yunus loses plea, seeks review ... SC hears his petition today

Yunus loses plea, seeks review ... SC hears his petition today

The Supreme Court yesterday rejected Nobel laureate Prof Muhammad Yunus' petition against a High Court ruling that upheld his dismissal as managing director of Grameen Bank he founded three decades ago.

Chief Justice ABM Khairul Haque, presiding over a seven-member bench of the Appellate Division, passed the one-sentence ruling in a packed courtroom.

Yunus refused to relent even after losing what was seen as his final legal option to stay on as Grameen MD.

In a last-ditch move yesterday afternoon, he filed a petition with the SC for withdrawal of the ruling and a fresh hearing on his leave-to-appeal petition, his lawyer Sara Hossain said.

The court will today hear the recall petition besides hearing another leave-to-appeal petition, filed by nine Grameen directors against the HC ruling.

It was not immediately known on what grounds the apex court dismissed Yunus' appeal.

Yunus, who was not in the court yesterday, told the staff at Grameen Bank headquarters that he respects the SC order.

“It's time for you to work with greater dedication to keep this institution effective,” hetold around 300 staff members who gathered on the ground floor of the Grameen office at Mirpur in the capital. “You must not let this institution slide down.”

Meanwhile, Grameen Chairman Khondaker Muzammel Huq told The Daily Star that he will call a meeting of the board of directors after receiving a certified copy of the court's order from Bangladesh Bank.

The ruling yesterday capped a month-long dispute between Yunus and the government over the right of the “banker to the poor” to continue as managing director of the bank.

Last month, the central bank removed 71-year-old Yunus from the post, saying he violated the bank's retirement regulation that requires an official to stand down at 60.

Yunus said his dismissal was illegal and that the government was trying to take control of the bank, which pioneered microlending to the poor to alleviate poverty.

His legal battle has caused concern worldwide and threatened to dampen ties between Bangladesh and the United States.

Robert Blake, US assistant secretary of state for South and Central Asian affairs, met Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, government and opposition leaders and Yunus during a trip to Bangladesh last month.

He told reporters the US was “deeply troubled” by the developments and called for a compromise. He said if no compromise was reached, “I think it will have an effect on our bilateral relations.”

A US embassy spokesperson in Dhaka yesterday said, “We remain concerned and hopeful that a compromise can be reached.

“We appreciate the efforts being made to achieve a resolution that is mutually satisfactory to all parties.”

Attorney General Mahbubey Alam welcomed the SC ruling, saying this means Yunus can no longer hold the post.

Yunus' counsel Dr Kamal Hossain declined to make any comment.

Rokanuddin Mahmud, another counsel for Yunus, said he may continue as MD until Grameen board of directors appoints his successor, as per the Bangladesh Bank's 'removal letter'.

The attorney general disagreed saying there was nothing like this in the letter.

Replying to a query, he said now that the top court has given its ruling on the issue, there is no scope for a compromise between Yunus and the government.

Earlier, Dr Kamal told the court that the BB removed Yunus without issuing a prior notice seeking his explanation, which is a violation of principles of natural justice.

He said Yunus was appointed the Grameen Bank MD with the BB approval in 1990. Besides, the central bank conducted audit at the Grameen at different times, but raised no question about Yunus' appointment and his holding office as MD.

There was no need for further approval regarding his appointment, he continued.

The HC had rejected the petitions without issuing any rule upon the government or BB to explain Yunus' sacking.

'We had placed before the High Court interpretation of law, relevant papers and information in support of the writ petitions, but the government placed no papers against the petitions,' Kamal said.

Mahbubey Alam told the SC bench that the HC has rightly delivered the verdict after examining the relevant documents and hearing the arguments from both sides.

Dr Yunus cannot hold the office of MD, since his retirement age was over in 1999, he added.

Mahmudul Islam, Rokanuddin Mahmud, Sara Hossain and Mustafizur Rahman Khan assisted Dr Kamal Hossain, while Tawfique Nawaz appeared for Bangladesh Bank.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011 05:17 AM GMT+06:00 (16 hours ago)
As a Bangalee, I am very much ashamed of the Supreme Court verdict. The judges do not have any conscience at all, let alone regard for law. Since have the power to judgment, it does not mean that they whimsically give any judgment. They do not have to break law to satisfy a particular person in the government. It will be recorded in history and future generation will spit at the judges. This is not court.
Wednesday, April 6, 2011 04:46 AM GMT+06:00 (17 hours ago)
It's the beginning of the end of Grameen Bank. With the grip of the present government, Grameen Bank will eventually face the same fate as lots of nationalised big industries after the liberation of Bangladesh. History will repeat itself.
Wednesday, April 6, 2011 04:21 AM GMT+06:00 (17 hours ago)
Is there any legal age for the retirement of politicians?
Saleh-Rahim Ahmed
Wednesday, April 6, 2011 04:15 AM GMT+06:00 (18 hours ago)
Hope the case would not turn against the rules for any individuals! For whatever good reason it might be, set rules were not followed; rules of the game have been violated as simple as such! We hope personalities like Prof Yunus would help the rules of games be established in every walk of life!

If we need to change in any rules for betterment we should have done that before the game started, not in the MIDDLE of the game and/or at the END of the game!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011 01:57 AM GMT+06:00 (20 hours ago)
We don't expect that he will get justice from the present frame of our judiciary. Compromise can not be made! Bad news for Bangladesh! Who else can work in future for changing the mindset of the people! We don't know how to respect people.

Shawkat Haider
Wednesday, April 6, 2011 01:01 AM GMT+06:00 (21 hours ago)
No matter what our court says. People around the world give their verdict. This would be a case study for many as to how Bangladesh politics and its judiciary coexist.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011 12:30 AM GMT+06:00 (21 hours ago)
At last judges showed their loyalty to Sheikh Hasina and not to law. Yunus was removed to restore law and order in the country (although according to Dr. Kamal Hossain Bangladesh Bank cannot remove Yunus in this way because Grameen Bank is not a nationalised bank) .
Eng.Md.Mehebub Haque,BUET
Wednesday, April 6, 2011 12:07 AM GMT+06:00 (22 hours ago)
We don't know the future of Grameen Bank but we can surely say if Nobel laureate Prof Muhammad Yunus is really displaced from the managing director post then this bank has to pay a great loss in the forthcoming days.
Faqrul Usa
Wednesday, April 6, 2011 12:43 AM GMT+06:00 (21 hours ago)
There is no reason to assume that the people who are expressing slightly different views on the merit of the case of Prof Yunus are out to tarnishing the image, prestige and honor of the Nobel laureate, we also want him to live in peace with dignity of his achievement and Nobel prize medal.

We feel embarrassed to see that the legal proceedings are being prejudiced from various quarters. My question is whether Prof Yunus believes in a respectable compromise or looking for victory and glorious come back as MD of the GB ? The judiciary can not be run by emotion or whispering, it has to deal with facts and figure and acceptable evidences, concrete or circumstantial, it can not definitely pay attention to outside notice which is the job of the politicians to listen and decide.
Abul Kashem
Wednesday, April 6, 2011 09:30 AM GMT+06:00 (12 hours ago)
It is very difficult to understand why a dignified personality of his status, Dr. Yunus fails to understand earlier the possible outcome of the case he had filed with the court against a government decision where the highest body is involved. Enough is done-now it is better for honorable Yunus to shelve off the matter.
Wednesday, April 6, 2011 10:23 AM GMT+06:00 (11 hours ago)
The fate of Prof Yunus had already been decided by the government earlier and in court, it was reconfirmed and legalised. In many public meetings of the ruling party, it was clear, how badly the Grameen Bank issues were addressed and deliberated in such public meetings by the leaders.

Wishing all the best in your future endeavors and millions of rural people, men and women will remember his microcredit support programme with great respect and dignity in years to come.
Kabir Ahmad
Wednesday, April 6, 2011 11:07 AM GMT+06:00 (11 hours ago)
Before issuing any termination, dismissal or discharge order

a show cause is supposed to be served. This is a mandatory provision of law. In his case no show cause notice was served. Higher Court did not consider the fact that proper procedure was not maintained. In his appeal petition in the Supreme Court, he mentioned that no rule was issued against his writ in the High Court another violation of mandatory provision of the law. The Supreme Court also did not consider this plea of the petitioner. In both the cases general rule of law were not maintained. It is very clear that while passing judgments in both courts law was not the factor; the justices carried out the order of the government.
Wednesday, April 6, 2011 11:19 AM GMT+06:00 (10 hours ago)
End of highly regarded organisation. No foreign company will come forward to invest in Bangladesh as we have corrupted legal and political systems only time will tell. AL misrule will surely destroy the nation.
Wednesday, April 6, 2011 11:51 AM GMT+06:00 (10 hours ago)
This indicates that our judicial system can't go out of government's verdict which behaves as like as it was in the tenure of Fakhruddin-Moeen.
From The Daily Star, Dhaka
Wednesday, April 6, 2011
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