Lawyer who challenged Maratha quota in court attacked by jobless youth

Lawyer who challenged Maratha quota in court attacked by jobless youth
Vaijnath Mukne Patil, a graduate but jobless youth from Jalna, was escorted from the court premises by cops (Courtesy: TV9 Marathi)

An educated and unemployed youth attacked prominent lawyer Gunratna Sadavarte, who has filed a public interest litigation (PIL) challenging the new legislation providing for quotas to Marathas, outside the Bombay High Court on Monday.

The attack took place when Sadavarte was addressing the media on the quota issue hearing that had concluded earlier.

After he finished his briefing and was moving out, one person from the crowd suddenly lunged forward shouting “Ek Maratha, Lakh Maratha”. He pushed and punched Sadavarte, who lost his balance and his glasses.

The assailant shouted abuses and wanted to know why the lawyer was challenging the Maratha reservations even as some policemen and lawyers around managed to grab the attacker and whisked him away.

He later identified himself as Vaijnath Mukne Patil from Jalna, a graduate but jobless youth. He has been detained at the Azad Maidan Police Station.

The incident happened after Sadavarte’s PIL came up for hearing before a division bench comprising Chief Justice Naresh Patil and Justice M.S. Karnik, opposing the state government’s recent decision to provide 16 percent reservations in government jobs and education to the Marathas.

He contended in the PIL that the new law is violative of the Supreme Court’s earlier orders stipulating that caste and community-based reservations in states cannot exceed the 50 percent ceiling.

Sadavarte also informed the media that he had submitted to the court how he had received “over a thousand threats” to his life for opposing the quotas and complaints had been lodged with the Mumbai Police.

Another petitioner, Sanjeet Shukla, challenged the reservation on behalf of Youth for Equality on similar grounds.

“The government cannot concentrate on one caste alone. The commission should have been asked by the government to look into all castes. Why only the Marathas?” his advocate Pradeep Sancheti was quoted as saying.

After the state legislature unanimously passed the bill during the winter session last month, Maharashtra Governor C.V. Rao had signed the legislation.

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