The division bench of Kerala High Court on Tuesday rejected an activist’s appeal against his dismissed petition that sought to remove Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s photo from the Covid-19 vaccine certificates, Bar and Bench reported.

“It is the prime minister’s message, not an advertisement,” the bench said.

On December 21, a single-judge bench of the High Court had rejected the petition and imposed a fine of Rs 1 lakh on the activist, Peter Myaliparampil.

It had said that the activist had raised a “frivolous and a publicity-oriented argument”, Bar and Bench reported.

The division bench of Chief Justice S Manikumar and Justice Shaji P Chaly on Tuesday heard Myaliparampil’s appeal against the order and dismissed it.

The bench is yet to confirm if it will retain the fine imposed by the single-bench judge.

Myaliparamphil had specifically challenged the insertion of Modi’s pictures on the certificates of the citizens who paid for the vaccines, the Hindustan Times reported. He had said that the photo served no purpose for the public.

The activist also argued that messages and campaigns funded by the government should refrain from exemplifying the Prime Minister as he is also the leader of a political party.

He also said that such publicity could affect the independent choice of voting that has been enshrined in the electoral system.

The bench rejected the arguments, saying that a prime minister ceases to be a leader of a party when elected by the citizens. It also declined the contention that the Prime Minister’s picture on the certificate could affect the votes.