The Kerala High Court on Tuesday dismissed a petition asking for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s photo to be removed from the Covid-19 vaccination certificates issued to Indians, PTI reported.

Justice PV Kunhikrishnan imposed costs of Rs 1 lakh on the petitioner, who is a Right to Information activist named Peter Myaliparampil. The judge described his plea as a “publicity-oriented litigation” and observed that it was frivolous and appeared to be politically motivated.

The court directed Myaliparampil to deposit the costs with the Kerala State Legal Services Authority within six weeks. The judge said he imposed a litigation cost to let the society know that the court will not entertain such petitions which waste judicial time.

The judge remarked that thousands of cases concerning people’s liberty were pending and such petitions ended up wasting the court’s time, Bar and Bench reported.

In his petition, Myaliparampil contended that the vaccination drive against Covid-19 was being used as a media campaign for the prime minister. He argued that Modi’s photograph on the vaccination certificates was a violation of his fundamental rights, as he could be considered as a captive audience.

The petitioner also contended that the use of the photograph went against his right to free speech, which included the right against compelled listening.

However, in the previous hearing on December 13, Justice Kunhikrishnan had said that the petitioner could not challenge the usage of the photograph merely on account of political differences. The judge also asked him why he was “ashamed of our prime minister”.

“100 crore people don’t seem to have an issue with this so why do you?” Justice Kunhikrishnan had asked the petitioner. “Everyone has different political opinions, but he is still our prime minister.”

The judge had noted that Myaliparampil works for the Jawaharlal Nehru Institute of Leadership, and asked why he did not ask the institute to remove the name of the first prime minister.

In the past, Opposition parties have also objected to Modi’s photo being put on vaccination certificates generated through the CoWin platform. Ahead of the Assembly elections held in April and May, the Election Commission had directed the Centre to remove pictures of the prime minister from vaccination certificates in poll-bound states.