Examining the validity of a plea to remove Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s photograph from the COVID-19 vaccination certificate, the Kerala High Court today asked the petitioner if he was ashamed of the Prime Minister.
Judge PV Kunhikrishnan said the prime minister was elected to power by the people of the country and therefore what was wrong with having his picture on the vaccination certificate.
When the petitioner’s lawyer told the court that there was no such practice in other countries, the judge verbally remarked: “They may not be proud of their prime minister, we are proud of our prime minister.”
“Why are you ashamed (the petitioner) of the Prime Minister? He came to power through the mandate of the people …. We may have different political views, but he is still our Prime Minister,” the court further said.
The petitioner’s lawyer – Peter Myaliparampil – said that the certificate was a “private space” with personal information registered and that it was therefore inappropriate to intrude on a person’s privacy.
He claimed that the addition of the Prime Minister’s photo to the certificate was an intrusion into a person’s private space.
To this, the court said the more than 100 million people in the country do not seem to have a problem having the Prime Minister’s photo on the vaccine certificate, “why are you doing this?”
The court said it would examine whether the plea had any justification and if not, it would divest the case.
During the more than hour-long hearing, attorney Ajit Joy, who appeared before the petitioner, said it was a personal choice to be proud of his prime minister.
Joy also told the court that it was not a matter of political disagreement as the Supreme Court has set guidelines for ads and campaigns with public funds.
He said having the picture on the certificates would also affect the minds of voters, and this issue was raised during the recent state legislature elections.
The central government opposed the plea, saying it was a lawsuit over advertising interests.
The petitioner, a senior citizen, has argued in his plea that the Prime Minister’s photo on his vaccination certificate was a violation of fundamental rights.
(With the exception of the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)