Nobel peace laureate Muhammad Yunus on Wednesday filed an appeal against the Bangladesh High Court verdict upholding his dismissal from the Grameen Bank, in a final bid to retain his position as head of the pioneering micro-finance agency he founded nearly three decades ago.
The full bench of the Appellate Division of the country's apex court headed by Chief Justice ABM Khairul Haque will hear the appeal filed by 70-year-old Yunus on March 15.
The Nobel winner filed the appeal a day after the High Court upheld his sacking as head of the Grameen Bank he founded in 1983, holding he has been continuing in his job with "no legal basis."
"The MD of the Grameen Bank is an official who cannot hold the office for an unlimited period. He has been continuing in his job with no legal basis," the High Court said in its judgement that came as a major setback to Yunus who is locked in a biter clash with authorities.
After Yunus and nine directors of his micro-lending agency filed two provisional 'leave-to-appeal' pleas against the judgment, the chamber judge of Appellate Division of the apex court sent to its full bench the petitions for staying the High Court verdict and a Bangladesh Bank order removing him as Managing Director of the Grameen Bank, 'The Daily Star' said.
Chamber Judge Syed Mahmud Hossain passed the order after hearing arguments from Rokanuddin Mahmud, counsel for the Nobel laureate, and Attorney General Mahbubey Alam.
The full bench of the Appellate Division of the apex court will hear the appeal filed by Yunus on March 15, the report said. Yunus was unceremoniously relieved of his duties last week through a Bangladesh Bank letter sent to Grameen Bank Chairman Khondoker Muzammel Huq.
The central bank claimed that Yunus failed to seek its approval when he was reappointed as the Managing Director in 2000, violating one of the statutes of the partly state-owned Grameen Bank. Yunus had defied government order removing him from his position at the Grameen Bank, returning to work and filing the petition in the High Court against his dismissal.
The government said he was working in violation of the country's retirement laws. He has alleged that the government was trying to take control of the pioneering micro lending agency, which provides small loans to the poor.
Grameen Bank, which is 25 per cent state-owned and employs 24,000 people, provides collateral-free loans to eight million borrowers, the vast majority from rural areas.