Kerala High Court on Monday pulled up a petitioner who had expressed his objection to the image of Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the vaccine certificate, saying what’s the problem with affixing Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s photo on the vaccination certificate.
“He is our Prime Minister, not the Prime Minister of any other country. He came to power through our mandate. Merely because you have political differences, you cannot challenge this…Why are you ashamed of our PM? 100 crore people don’t seem to have an issue with this so why do you? Everyone has different political opinions, but he is still our prime minister. You are wasting judicial time,” said Justice PV Kunhikrishnan.
The petition was filed by Peter Mayaliparambil from Kottayam who’s working as the state-level master coach of the Jawaharlal Nehru Leadership Institute, New Delhi
“Why, you are working with an institution named after former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru. Why are you not taking a stand to remove the name of Nehru from that institution,” asked the bench.
Being Proud Of PM A Personal Choice, Petitioner Said
The petitioner pointed out that vaccination certificates of no other country contain the image of their Prime Minister.
To which the High Court bench remarked, “They may not proud of their Prime Minister, but we are proud of ours. You should be proud that your vaccination certificate carries the photograph of your PM.”
“Whether one should be proud or not is a personal choice,” replied the petitioner’s counsel.
The petitioner added, “The government messaging and campaigns, especially when it uses government funds, should not personify any leader of a political party. This affects the petitioner’s independent choice of voting, which has been recognised as the essence of the electoral system in People’s Union for Civil Liberties vs Union of India.”
He argued that as per the guidelines laid down by the Supreme Court for campaigns using public money in Common Cause vs Union of India, no individual can be credited for the launch of an initiative or be celebrated for achievements of a certain policy of the state at government expense.
My Vaccine Certificate A Private Space
The bench asked the petitioner, “Do you close your eyes when Prime Minister’s visuals appear on television?”
To which the petitioner replied, “I can close my eyes while watching TV. But my certificate is my private space.”
The petitioner raised the issue that a vaccine certificate is the private space of an individual containing personal details and is not a place for public campaigning. The petition also argued that no public purpose or utility is served by the PM’s photograph on the vaccination certificate.
Respondents Questioned Petition’s Maintainability
The respondent party questioned the maintainability of the petition submitting that there was no violation of the constitutional rights in the first place and also stated that the PIL has no merits.
The High Court bench, however, stated that it will analyze the pleadings in detail with an open mind before dismissing it.
Who Is Peter Mayaliparambil?
The petitioner, Peter Mayaliparambil, is a senior citizen of the country and is also an RTI activist. He allegedly received a paid Covid-19 vaccination from a private hospital.
Aggrieved over the photograph of PM Modi on the vaccine certificate, the petitioner moved Kerala High Court alleging multiple fundamental rights violations.