The petitioner argued that the photograph be removed since the vaccine certificate was his private space and he had rights over it.

Front of the Kerala High Court building, red and white and behind a gate
news Court Wednesday, November 03, 2021 - 10:14

It is a very dangerous proposition, asking to remove the photo of the Prime Minister from the COVID-19 vaccination certificate, a judge at the Kerala High Court remarked on Tuesday, November 2, while hearing a petition, reports Live Law. The plea had asked that PM Narendra Modi's photograph, which is presently printed on the bottom of the COVID-19 vaccination certificates issued in India, be removed since that was his private space and he has rights over it. However, the High Court discouraged the petition citing the example of using the photograph of Mahatma Gandhi on currency notes in India.

Justice N Nagaresh, hearing the petition, remarked orally that someone else can come tomorrow and say that they don't like Mahatma Gandhi and want his photograph removed from the currency notes, saying "it is their blood and sweat and they don't want to see his face on it". To this, advocate Ajit Joy, representing the petitioner, said that using the photograph of Mahatma Gandhi on currency notes is in accordance with the Reserve Bank of India (RBI)'s Regulations while the practice of using Narendra Modi's photos on vaccine certificates was not based on any statutory provision.

The Additional Solicitor General of India, representing the Government of India, asked for more time to file a statement. The court posted the case for November 23. The petitioner in the case is a senior citizen and a Right To Information (RTI) activist who got his COVID-19 vaccination from a private hospital after payment. Aggrieved by seeing the photograph of the PM on his certificate along with a message, the petitioner approached the court, alleging violations of fundamental rights. 

Asking for a declaration that such a photograph affixed on the vaccine certificate is a violation of fundamental rights, the petitioner also sought that the certificate be hence issued without the photo.

Read: ‘What’s the use of PM’s pic on vaccination certificate?’ Kerala man moves HC

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