HC slams plea to remove PM’s photo from vaccine certificate

Why are you ashamed of your Prime Minister, court asks petitioner

Slamming a petitioner who sought a directive to remove the photograph of Prime Minister Narendra Modi from paid COVID-19 vaccine certificates, the Kerala High Court on Monday asked whether the petitioner was ashamed of the Prime Minister who has come to power with the people’s mandate.

When the petition came up for hearing, Justice P.V. Kunhikrishnan asked, “Why you are ashamed of your Prime Minister? Why you are making such a complaint when around 150 crore people have not raised a voice in this regard.”

The court added that Narendra Modi was our Prime Minister and not the Prime Minister of any other country. “You might have political differences. Everyone has different political opinions, but he is still the Prime Minister,” he said.

When the counsel for the petitioner said that the vaccination certificates issued by other countries did not carry the photo of their prime ministers, the court orally observed that “They may not be proud of their Prime Minister, but we are proud of ours”. You should be “proud of your vaccination certificate which carried the photograph of your PM.”

Pointing out that the petitioner was the State-level master coach of the Jawaharlal Nehru Leadership Institute of New Delhi, the court asked “You work at an institute named after a Prime Minister. Why don’t you ask the university to take that down as well?”

Petitioner’s stance

Petitioner Peter Mayaliparambil from Kottayam contended that the Union government had no right to take the credit for the vaccination 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. A vaccination certificate was a private space with one’s personal details and not a place for public campaigning.

He also pointed out that according to the guidelines laid down by the Supreme Court in the Common Cause v. Union of India for campaigns using public money, no individual could be credited with the launch of an initiative or be celebrated for achievements of a certain policy of the State.

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