A writ petition was filed before the Kerala High Court by Peter Myaliparampil of Kottayam, challenging the photograph of Prime Minister Narendra Modi being affixed on the vaccination certificates being provided to the citizens upon being vaccinated against Covid-19.
The petitioner who is a senior citizen of India and an RTI activist received a paid COVID-19 vaccination from a private hospital and subsequently received his certificate as proof for the vaccination, which also had the photograph of the Prime Minister of India along with a message. Aggrieved by this, he filed a plea in the Court through Advocate Ajit Joy on the following grounds:
The petitioner in his plea argued that since affixing the photograph of the Prime Minister is not serving any public interest in the covid vaccination certificate, hence removing it from the certificate will not lead to any harm either to the state or to the government policy. He also urged that he has to carry this certificate with him to several places and the photo of the prime minister is of no relevance and that the government should follow on the footsteps of the countries like USA, Israel, Kuwait, France, etc who are issuing Covid vaccination certificates with only the necessary information and nothing else.
Further, it also stated that the certificate issued to the petitioner had his name, his personal details and his medical records and hence it is his private space and the State has no right to access that space, without the petitioner’s consent. He also alleged that since he had to pay for the vaccine due to the unavailability of free vaccine slots, the state had no right to take credit by inserting a photograph of the Prime Minister in the certificate issued to a paid receipt.
The petitioner argued that no individual can be given credit for launching an initiative or be celebrated for achievements of a certain policy and that the government messaging shouldn’t personify a leader. He further stated that the national campaign against COVID 19 is being converted into a mere media campaign for the PM in an attempt to highlight the campaign as a one-man show.
Justice PB Suresh admitted the plea and directed the Union and state governments to present their views within two weeks.