The Kerala High Court dismissed a plea seeking the removal of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s photograph from COVID-19 vaccination certificates and imposed a cost of Rs 1 lakh on the petitioner by terming the petition as “frivolous”, being “politically motivated” and a “publicity interest litigation”.
Justice P.V. Kunhikrishnan directed the petitioner — Peter Myaliparampil — to deposit the cost in favour of the Kerala State Legal Services Authority (KeLSA) within six weeks.
The court said in case of failure to deposit the cost within the stipulated period, KeLSA shall recover the amount from his assets by initiating revenue recovery proceedings against him.
It said the cost was being imposed to let people and the society know that frivolous pleas like this which waste judicial time will not be entertained by the court.
The court also said that the “frivolous contentions” by the petitioner objecting to the PM’s photo and his “morale-boosting message” on the vaccination certificate, was “not expected from a citizen of the country”.
It also said that when there are thousands of criminal appeals, bail pleas, civil suits and matrimonial cases pending in the courts, frivolous petitions like this one waste judicial time.
The court had previously wondered what was wrong in Covid-19 vaccination certificates carrying the photograph of the Prime Minister when he was elected to power by the people of the country.
The court had also remarked, “They may not be proud of their PMs, we are proud of our PM” and had asked the petitioner — “why are you ashamed 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 PM.”
The petitioner had contended that the certificate was a private space with personal details on record and therefore, it was inappropriate to intrude into the privacy of an individual.
He had contended that adding the prime minister’s photo to the certificate was an intrusion into an individual’s private space.
The petitioner, a senior citizen, had contended in his plea that the prime minister’s photo on his vaccination certificate was a violation of fundamental rights.