PM Modi’s pics on vaccine certificate: Kerala HC issues notice to Centre
The Kerala High Court on Tuesday admitted a plea challenging Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s photo on the vaccination certificate and directed the Centre and state governments to file counter-affidavits.
While hearing the plea earlier Justice N Nagaresh orally observed that it will have serious implications and posed a question that if someone wants to remove the photo of Mahatma Gandhi from currency notes saying it is their blood and sweat and they don’t want to see his face, what will happen? Earlier the petition was heard by another judge Justice PB Suresh Kumar.
Counsel for petitioner M Peter, Advocate Ajit Joy contended that the photo of Mahatma Gandhi was printed on the currency as per the regulations of the Reserve Bank of India but the PM’s photo was affixed not based on any statutory provision or rule.
“The photograph is a needless intrusion into the private space of the petitioner. The Central government or the PM cannot claim to have done anything particular, but their duty,” Peter contended in the petition.
The petitioner, also a frequent traveller, said he has to carry the certificate with him to several places and the photo of the PM has “no substance, utility or relevance.” If the government is firm, people can be given an option to carry the certificate without any photo. He also produced vaccination certificates of different countries including the United States, Indonesia, Israel and Germany saying they all carried necessary information, not photos of their heads of the government.
Earlier, the union government defended its decision to include the photograph in the certificate saying the PM’s image along with his words help create general awareness and Covid-appropriate behaviour. When a question came up in the upper house in August, Minister of State for Health BP Pawar said it was ideal to promote awareness.
“The photograph, along with his words, reinforces the message for creating awareness and importance of following Covid-appropriate behaviour even after the vaccination. It was done in the larger public interest,” he said in a written reply. But Congress and other opposition members deplored it.