Kerala High Court issues notice to Center in plea for removal of PM's photo from Covid-19 vaccine certificate

  • Gargi Chatterjee
  • 02:11 PM, 25 Nov 2021

Justice N. Nagaresh of the Kerala High Court on Tuesday served notice on the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare after formally admitting a petition from a senior citizen who had sought removal of the picture of Prime Minister Narendra Modi from his Covid-19 vaccine certificate.

According to the Hindustan Times, 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?

Counsel for petitioner M Peter, Advocate Ajit Joy, however, 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 petitioner’s advocate further contended that the “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.”

The petitioner has also sought for issuance of a Covid-19 vaccination certificate without the Prime Minister's photograph affixed. Pointing out that the vaccine was taken without any “subsidy or largesse” from the government, he said that he was, on the contrary, forced to take the vaccine privately because he did not get a slot for getting free vaccines provided by the government.

Therefore, the petitioner stated:

“The state has no right to claim the credit by inserting a photograph of the Hon'ble Prime Minister in the certificate issued to a paid vaccine recipient. Even if the photograph of the Hon'ble Prime Minister carries with it a mere motivational message, the petitioner wants to be spared of it."

Earlier, the central government has defended its decision of putting the Prime Minister’s photo on the certificate, with the Minister of State for Health BP Pawar telling the Rajya Sabha that, "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."

Cause Title: Peter Myaliparampil v. Union of India & Anr.