The Maharashtra Police have registered a case against a lawyer in Vasai, Palghar district, for sharing a video of YouTuber Dhruv Rathee criticising Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a WhatsApp group, reported The Indian Express.

On May 20, amid the fifth phase of polling for the Lok Sabha elections, advocate Adesh Bansode had shared a link to a video by Rathee titled “Mind of a Dictator” in a WhatsApp group of the Bar Association of Vasai.

“Do watch the video before going to vote,” wrote Bansode, who is also the Maharashtra secretary of the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) Liberation.

A lawyer complained to the police that Bansode had shared an “objectionable” video in the group.

On May 21, the Mira-Bhayandar Vasai-Virar Police registered a first information report on the basis of a complaint by a head constable.

“The video shared by the accused and its message make a false statement about Lok Sabha election candidates and tries to influence voters, thus violating the prohibitory orders of the commissioner of police,” The Indian Express quoted the police report as saying.

Mira-Bhayandar Vasai-Virar Police Police Commissioner Madhukar Pandey had issued prohibitory orders, in effect in his commissionerate from May 18 to May 20, to ensure that polling was conducted smoothly.

Bansode said that the report filed against him was illegal and aimed at suppressing people’s voices. He claimed that the police had violated due procedure while filing the case on the grounds of disobedience of an order by a public servant, under section 188 of the Indian Penal Code.

“As per CrPC Section 195 [Code of Criminal Procedure], it is mandatory for the police to obtain prior permission from the concerned court before registering an FIR [first information report] under Section 188 of the IPC [Indian Penal Code],” The Indian Express quoted Bansode as saying.

“The said video was watched, liked, and shared by crores of internet users,” the lawyer said. “Would the police be lodging a case against all of them? I am protesting against the illegal FIR.”