A lawyer who had filed a PIL in the Bombay High Court against the new legislation providing reservation to Maratha community in Maharashtra was attacked outside the court premises on Monday, a police official said.
The incident took place when the petitioner, Gunratna Sadavarte, was speaking to media outside the high court on the quota issue, he said.
A Maratha community person, who was in the crowd gathered outside the HC, came forward raising the slogan "Ek Maratha Lakh Maratha" in support of the reservation. He lunged at Sadavarte and hit him, the official said.
Policemen and lawyers present at the spot immediately caught hold of the man, identified as Vaijanath Patil from Jalna district, he said.
Patil was subsequently detained by the Azad Maidan police, the official said, adding that a probe was underway into the incident.
Last week, a bench of Chief Justice Naresh Patil and Justice M S Karnik, which was hearing Sadavarte's Public Interest Litigation (PIL), had agreed to grant a detailed hearing on Monday to all pending petitions on the issue.
Sadavarte in his PIL opposed the Maharashtra government's decision to provide 16 per cent reservation in government jobs and educational institutions to the Maratha community in the state.
The PIL claimed the new law was in violation of the Supreme Court's previous orders mandating that caste and community based reservation in states should not exceed 50 per cent.
Maharashtra Governor C Vidyasagar Rao had last week approved and signed the Maratha Reservation Bill after the state Assembly unanimously passed it.