The division bench of the Kerala High Court dismissed the appeal filed by Peter Myaliparampil through advocate Ajit Joy, on the same day it was filed. Earlier, a similar appeal was filed by them that was also quashed by the single judge bench of Kerela High Court. It also imposed a cost of Rs 1lakh against the petitioner.
The petition stated that the photograph of the Prime Minister in the certificate serves no public utility or purpose, even the inclusion of a photograph in the certificate of those individuals who have paid for the vaccines. It was argued that the petitioner’s freedom of speech, including the right against compelled listening, is violated under Article 19 of the Indian Constitution. It further impacts the choice of voting as it is personifying the leader who is holding the position of PM as well as being a leader of a political party, and using the government funds for these campaigns.
“It is the Prime Minister’s message, not an advertisement,” said the Bench. Chief Justice S Manikumar and Justice Shaji P Chaly, dismissed the appeal and upheld that photograph of the Prime Minister is not an advertisement and that the PM has the right to send a message, even via the vaccine certificate. The PM photo in the certificate should not be taken as an advertisement as there may be some benefit that will arise from it to qualify for as such.
The Division Bench reaffirmed the view of the single bench, that the Prime Minister has assumed office based on a citizens’ mandate, and that once appointed to the office, a person ceases to be the leader of a party and is simply the Prime Minister of India. It also rejected the argument that it will affect the petitioner’s right to vote. Moreover, the Court stated that it would consider and respond to the petitioner’s claims of violation of fundamental rights in a detailed order that would most likely be declared later.
Case Name: Peter Myaliparampil v State of Kerala.