The Kerala High Court on Tuesday dismissed the plea seeking the removal of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's image from the COVID 19 vaccine certificate observing that it was frivolous, politically motivated and a "publicity orientated litigation".
Dismissing the plea with heavy costs, Justice PV KunhiKrishnan said, "According to my opinion, this is a frivolous petition filed with ulterior motives and I have a strong doubt that there is political agenda also to the petitioner." The judge said that petitioner Peter Myaliparampil's contentions seeking the removal of the PM's photo from the vaccine certificate were "fantastic arguments" that deserved to be dismissed.
"When the country is facing a pandemic situation, and at that time, the Hon'ble Prime Minister of India, gave a message in the vaccination certificate with his photographs to boost the morale of the citizen, I do not understand why the petitioner says before this Court that it is an intrusion to his privacy," the judge said.
The judge directed the petitioner—Peter Myaliparampil, an RTI activist—to pay ₹1 lakh to the Kerala State Legal Service Authority within six weeks, failing which recovery proceedings could be initiated against him.
"I know the above amount is big as far as a citizen is concerned. But, when these types of frivolous contentions are raised by the petitioner, he should know the effect and the society also should know that if frivolous petitions are filed, the Court will not accept the same," the judge added.
Plea is a publicity oriented litigation
On December 13, when the judge heard the matter in court he had indicated his inclination to dismissed the plea observing that there was nothing wrong with the Prime Minister displaying his picture on the CoWin portal and that one should be proud of their country's leader.
In his verdict, the judge said that our country was facing the Covid-19 pandemic for the last one and half years and that the "only way to eliminate" the virus was through complete vaccination of all the citizens. "In such situation, while issuing a certificate for COVID-19 vaccination, if the Prime Minister of India gave a message with his photograph that with the help of medicine and strict control, India will defeat COVID-19, what is wrong with it?" the judge said.
The arguments that PM Modi's morale-boosting message on the vaccination certificate during a pandemic situation is an intrusion of privacy and 'compelled viewing' are "frivolous contentions", the judge said.
The judge lamented that such pleas deserved to be dismissed with costs in the face of a situation where "thousands of convicted persons in criminal cases are in jail in our country waiting for hearing their appeals."
"Thousands of people are waiting for a result in their matrimonial disputes. Thousands of people are waiting for the result in their property disputes. In such a situation, this Court has to consider those litigations as early as possible and this Court is doing that every day," the 32-page verdict read.
Justice Kunhikrishnan said that citizens do not need to be "ashamed to carry a vaccination certificate with the photograph of the Prime Minister with a morale boosting message, especially in this pandemic situation."
The contention that this is 'compelled viewing' is "frivolous" and "should be curbed immediately."
Updated On: 2021-12-22T10:19:38+05:30