Kerala HC dismisses appeal against PM’s photo on vaccine certificate, says not an ad

An appeal was filed against an earlier HC order which dismissed the plea and imposed Rs 1 lakh as costs on the petitioner.
Kerala High Court
Kerala High Court
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Noting that a photo is not an advertisement and that the Prime Minister has the right to give a message, a division bench of the Kerala High Court on Tuesday, January 25, dismissed an appeal against the Prime Minister’s photograph on the vaccination certificate. A single-judge bench of the Kerala High Court had last month dismissed a plea seeking the removal of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's photograph from COVID-19 vaccination certificates obtained via the CoWIN portal.

The plea was filed by Peter Myliaparampil, a Congress worker in Kaduthuruthy and a state coordinator of the National Campaign for People’s Right to Information. Earlier, the High Court had dismissed his plea calling it “frivolous,” and also imposed a cost of Rs 1 lakh on the petitioner, who filed an appeal before a division bench of the High Court.

Peter, appearing through advocate Ajit Joy, argued that the single judge had dismissed the petition and imposed a cost of Rs 1 lakh without “properly appreciating the facts and the Constitutional provisions involved,” reported LiveLaw.

However, the division bench of Chief Justice S Manikumar and Justice Shaji P Chaly dismissed the appeal. The High Court held that the Prime Minister’s photograph on the vaccine certificate is “not an advertisement” and that “the Prime Minister has a right to give a message. Right to vote cannot be linked to it."

The Kerala High Court in December had questioned the validity of a plea seeking the removal of the Prime Minister’s photograph from the COVID-19 vaccine certificate, asking why the petitioner should be ‘ashamed’ of the PM’s photo and told the petitioner that he was “wasting judicial time.”

The petitioner had said in his petition that the vaccination certificate was issued in his name, with personal details and record of a medical event and was his personal space. He said that adding the PM’s photo on the certificate is a violation of his fundamental rights.

The petitioner had also said that a prominent exposure to the PM’s photo also colours his rational and critical thought.

However, the division bench did not interfere with the single-bench order and dismissed the appeal without reducing costs imposed on the petitioner earlier.

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