Dhaka court hears petition challenging Yunus’ ouster

March 6th, 2011 - 11:41 pm ICT by IANS  

Sheikh Hasina Dhaka, March 6 (IANS) The Dhaka High Court will Monday continue the hearing on a petition of Nobel laureate Muhammad Yunus challenging his ouster by the government as managing director of the Grameen Bank.

The high court did not pass any order Sunday after hearing Yunus’ counsel and the government for over two hours and adjourned the proceedings till Monday 2 p.m., the Star Online reported.

A bench of Justice Momtaz Uddin Ahmed and Justice Gobinda Chandra Tagore allowed Yunus, who was present in the court, to file a supplementary petition to the one filed last Wednesday challenging his ouster.

Yunus was relieved of his duties through a letter by the country’s central bank, Bangladesh Bank, sent to Grameen Bank chairman Khondoker Muzammel Huq.

The central bank said Yunus failed to seek its approval when he was reappointed as the managing director in 2000, violating one of the statutes of the Grameen Bank, which is partly owned by the government.

Grameen, however, maintained that Yunus’ position was legal.

There has been widespread criticism in the country and abroad at the manner in which the government ousted Yunus, who founded the Grameen Bank in the mid 1970s to provide micro-credit to rural women in Bangladesh.

The Grameen model has been emulated in several countries. Yunus and Grameen were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006.

The government said Yunus refused to step down when told on the ground that the rules governing the banks do not permit a person to work beyond 80 years of age.

Yunus has said he was ready step down but wanted his succession to take place smoothly.

The US has reportedly conveyed that it will not have any significant diplomatic interaction with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s government till Yunus’ “harassement” ends.

In a statement the US envoy here, James F. Moriarty, said he was “deeply disturbed” by Yunus’ ouster.

Friends of Grameen, a newly formed group headed by former Irish president Mary Robinson, has denounced the “new attempt of destabilization against professor Yunus” and expressed concern.

The group has many well-known personalities as its members, including former chief justice of India J.S. Verma.

Former Bangladesh prime minister and current opposition chief Khaleda Zoa Sunday said the government badly tarnished the country’s image on the global stage by removing Muhammad Yunus “in a disrespectful way”.

Politicians, university teachers, women activists, micro-finance organisations and clients of Grameen Bank, among others have condemned Yunus’ removal.

Some groups have also staged demonstrations in different parts of the country, the New Age newspaper reported Sunday.

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