In Peter Myaliparampil v. Union of India, a petition challenging the inclusion of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s photograph on COVID-19 vaccination certificates, the Kerala High Court issued notice.
The Central government was served with a notice by Justice N Nagaresh, who instructed them to file a counterclaim in the case.
The petitioner claimed that receiving the certificate confirmed his suspicions that the national campaign against Covid-19 was being used as a media campaign for the Prime Minister, and he requested a vaccine certificate without the photograph from the Central government.
However, after receiving no response to his representation, he felt compelled to file this petition with the Court. According to the petition, affixing the PM’s photograph on the COVID certificate, especially when he had paid for the vaccination, is a violation of his fundamental rights because he can be considered a captive audience. This is said to be in violation of his right to free speech, which is protected by Article 19 of the Indian Constitution, which prohibits compulsory and forced listening.
Furthermore, under the guidelines established by the Supreme Court in Common Cause v. Union of India for campaigns involving public funds, no individual can be credited with the launch of an initiative or celebrated for the accomplishments of a State policy funded by the government.
The current campaign goes against these guidelines, according to the petitioner, who is asking for the photo to be removed from the certificate he received and for a provision on the COWIN platform to generate certificates without the photo for those who want it.
After the Centre files its counter, the matter will be taken up next.