[PM Modi photo on COVID vaccine certificate] Five “fantastic” judicial counters by the Kerala High Court

The judgment delivered by Justice PV Kunhikrishnan of the Kerala High Court frowns upon the "fantastic" arguments made by the petitioner to support his contentions.
Kerala High Court
Kerala High Court

The Kerala High Court on Tuesday dismissed a petition that sought the removal of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's photograph from the COVID-19 vaccination certificates issued via the CoWIN portal.

The Court also imposed costs of ₹1 lakh on the petitioner for filing what it said was a frivolous petition. The judgment running into 32 pages was delivered by single-judge Justice PV Kunhikrishnan.

The judgment is replete with "articulate" responses to the arguments raised by the petitioner. Some of the noteworthy "judicial" counters follow.

Argument: Counsel says that the photograph of the Prime Minister of India in his vaccination certificate is an intrusion to his privacy.

Court’s response: What a fantastic argument! Is he not living in this country?...When the country is facing a pandemic situation and at that time, the Hon'ble Prime Minister of India, gave a message in the vaccination certificate with his photographs to boost the morale of the citizen, I do not understand why the petitioner says before this Court that it is an intrusion to his privacy.

Argument: The photograph of the Prime Minister of India with a morale boosting message in the vaccination certificate, when the COVID-19 pandemic is all around us even now, is a compelled viewing of the Prime Minister's photograph. Viewers have a right against compelled viewing.

Court’s response: I have no words to the petitioner to these types of arguments…. if the petitioner does not want to see his Prime Minister or if he is ashamed to see the picture of his Prime Minister, he can avert his eyes to the bottom side of the vaccine certificate.

Argument: ---

Court’s response: The Prime Minister of India is not a person who entered the parliament house by breaking the roof of the parliament building. He came to power because of the mandate of the people. The Indian democracy is being praised by the world.

Argument: ---

Court's response: According to me, it is the duty of the citizens to respect the Prime Minister of India, and of course, they can differ on the policies of the Government and even the political stand of the Prime Minister.

There can be grievances against the policies of the government. There can be political differences with the views of the Prime Minister. But those views can be raised in a democratic manner. In the next general election, they can make use of it and remove him with people's mandate.

Argument: ---

Court’s response: There is a general trend to a section of the citizens of our country that the political leaders are all corrupt people and they cannot be believed. I think, from this concept, these types of arguments are coming into the mind of the petitioner. But can anyone generalise like that? What is wrong with politicians?

This is a work of satire. The author of this article, while agreeing with the outcome of the petition, is unimpressed by the general sermons offered in the judgment. They are unrelated to the case and are also based on assumptions of what the judge thinks has “come into the mind of the petitioner,” though no such arguments were canvassed.

[Read Judgment]

Peter Myaliparampil v Union of India.pdf

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