The Kerala High Court on Tuesday described a petition asking for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s photo to be removed from the Covid-19 vaccination certificates issued to Indians as dangerous, Live Law reported.
The petitioner, a Right to Information activist, told the court that he had to pay for his jab because of a dearth of free vaccination slots, The Hindu reported. He added that the government had no right to take credit for vaccination by placing Modi’s photo on certificates.
The activist also argued that there was no use of putting the prime minister’s photo on vaccination certificates.
“This is a very dangerous proposition,” Justice N Nagaresh said. “Tomorrow someone can come here and protest that they don’t like Mahatma Gandhi, and seek the removal of his image from our currency saying it’s their blood and sweat and they don’t want to see his face on it. What will happen then?”
The petitioner’s lawyer told the court that Gandhi’s photo was printed on currency notes in accordance with the Reserve Bank of India’s regulations, but there was no statutory provision that vaccine certificates should have Modi’s photo, Live Law reported.
The Centre sought time from the court to file a response in the matter. The Kerala High Court will hear the case again on November 23.
Opposition parties had also objected to Modi’s photo being put on vaccination certificates generated through the CoWin platform.
During Assembly elections in four states and the Union Territory of Puducherry earlier this year, the Trinamool Congress had complained to the Election Commission about the photo.
In his letter to the election panel, Trinamool Congress MP Derek O’Brien claimed that by using his photograph, Modi was “blatantly misusing official machinery” ahead of the Assembly polls and taking away credit from healthcare workers.
The Election Commission then directed the Centre to remove pictures of the prime minister from vaccination certificates in poll-bound states.
But, the government insisted that Modi’s photo on vaccination certificates helped educate Indians about following Covid-appropriate behaviour even after getting inoculated.