World Bank loses legal battle to sacked official in Bangladesh

Staff Correspondent, NewAge, April 7, 2009

The World Bank lost for the fourth time a legal battle in Dhaka, as the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court on Monday upheld the High Court’s verdict that had ordered a Dhaka court to dispose of a case filed in 2001 by a fired local official against the World Bank within six months.
   

The Appellate Division rejected the petition filed by the WB to seek permission to appeal against the High Court’s verdict delivered on June 5, 2008.
   

The High Court bench of Justice SK Sinha on June 5, 2008 delivered the verdict, rejecting a petition filed by WB for dismissal of the case on grounds of inadequate court fees.
   

This was the latest of a series of rejections by the court of the WB’s petitions filed in the last seven years since the former external affairs officer of the bank’s Dhaka office, Ismet Zerin Khan, sued it, challenging her termination in 2001.
   

‘The suit relates to service matter. It was instituted in the year 2001 and a suit of this nature deserves preference to other suits in the matter of disposal,’ observed the High Court in its verdict, and ordered the trial court to dispose of the case in six months, ‘taking into consideration the fact that in the meantime about seven years have elapsed and no witness has yet been examined’.
   

The international lending agency appealed to the High Court in 2001, claiming that it should enjoy immunity from any lawsuit in Bangladesh, and secured a stay order on the case.
   

On 9 August, 2005, the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court rejected an appeal filed by the WB and ordered the trial court to hear the suit. It also ordered the trial court to dispose of the case in six months.
   

The WB had also tried to get a law enacted which would provide it with immunity from any lawsuit in the country. No such law, however, has yet been enacted.

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