Kerala HC seeks Centre’s response on plea against PM picture on vax certificates

KC Gopakumar Kochi | Updated on November 23, 2021

According to the petition, the photograph on the certificate did not have any utility

The Kerala High Court, on Tuesday, directed the Centre and State government to file an affidavit in response to a writ petition seeking a directive to remove Prime Minister Narendra Modi's photograph from Covid vaccination certificates given to paid vaccine recipients.

Justice N Nagaresh issued the directive while the petition filed by Peter Mayaliparambil from Kottayam came up for hearing.

Counsel for the petitioner submitted that the portrait of Mahatma Gandhi was printed on currency as per Reserve Bank of India (RBI) regulations, while the Prime Minister’s photograph was affixed not based on any statutory provision.

No relevance

According to the petition, the photograph of the Prime Minister on the Covid vaccination certificate did not have any utility. It was a certificate issued merely to confirm the status of vaccination of a person. The affixing of a photograph of the Prime Minister on the certificate had no relevance as could be seen from such certificates issued by other countries. The messages or motivation printed in the certificate was irrelevant since the recipient of the certificate was already convinced of its utility and had taken the vaccination voluntarily. In fact, the messaging in a certificate was no more than “preaching to the converted”, he said.

The petitioner also contended that he had already paid for his vaccination. As a result, he had not obtained any subsidy or largesse from the government on his vaccination. In fact, it was the shortage of free vaccine slots that had forced the petitioner to opt for the paid vaccination.

The Central government had no right to claim the credit by inserting a photograph of the Prime Minister in the certificate issued to a paid vaccine recipient. It was a certificate issued merely to confirm the status of vaccination of a person, he added.

The present Covid campaign was designed to garner a political advantage by projecting the image of the Prime Minister. The government-sponsored campaign had affected both the personal decision-making process and the decision taken by the petitioner as a voter, he said.

Published on November 23, 2021

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