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Advocate Opposing Maratha Quota Attacked Outside Bombay HC 

“I have been receiving death threats,” says petitioner in court, moments before he was attacked.

Published
Politics
2 min read
Bombay High Court heard PILs related to Maratha reservation on Monday.
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Advocate Gunratna Sadavarte, one of the petitioners who had filed a plea against the Maratha reservation at the Bombay High Court, was attacked by a Maratha supporter outside court premises on Monday, 10 December. The incident took place while Sadavarte was addressing media personnel. All of a sudden, the attacker ran towards the petitioner while shouting the ‘Ek Maratha, Lakh Maratha’ slogan, in support of reservation.

The attacker who has been identified as Vaijanath Patil, a resident of Jalna district, was immediately detained by police officials but not before he hit the lawyer multiple times. An injured Sadavarte was rushed inside court premises.

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The attack took place just minutes after the Bombay High Court heard multiple petitions opposing and favouring the Maratha reservation bill passed by the Maharashtra cabinet. Even during the hearing, Sadavarte had raised the issue of receiving death threats since the petition opposing Maratha quota was filed.

“I have received at least 1000 threats so far, some of them are death threats. I have the recordings with me, I can share them with the court.”
Advocate Gunratna Sadavarte, petitioner 
Multiple petitioners arguing against the latest Maratha reservation bill cited that the Government is in violation of the Supreme Court order. The Supreme Court had earlier capped reservation across states at 50 percent. The petitioners also pointed out that the state government has been publicising Maratha quota in its mega recruitment scheme for jobs.

With the admission process in the state about to begin, about 2 lakh applications are expected for medical and engineering courses and around 76,000 recruitment applications will be given out. Petitioners have been pointing out that with Maratha reservation coming into effect, there will be confusion among the candidates.

“We raised three issues before the Bombay High Court today. Firstly, if only 32 seats remain in the open category after reservations, then that’s very unfair. We also raised the point that the government is publicising ‘Mega recruitment’ in a hurry where they have already mentioned that Marathas will be given positions of deputy collectors and tehsildars. To this, the court asked them, ‘why the hurry when there are petitions already filed in court?’”
Advocate Gunratna Sadavarte, petitioner 
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Another key demand that petitioners who stand against the reservation are making is for the report by the Maharashtra State Backward Classes Commission be made public. In June 2017, the Maharashtra government set up an 11-member committee headed by Justice (retd) NG Gaikwad that found the Maratha community to be a socially, educationally and economically backward class. The committee classified Marathas under an independent category called Socially and Educationally Backward Class (SEBC), recommending reservation be granted to the community.

Petitioners argued that the public have the right to know the details of the report filed by the committee and demanded access to it.

Maharashtra government is expected to file its response to the demand on 19 December 2018.

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