It is the “duty of the citizens to respect the Prime Minister of India” — the Kerala High Court’s befitting reply to petitioners seeking action against Prime Minister Modi’s photo is being applauded by Indians. Kerala HC, in an applaudable move, not only dismissed the plea plea challenging the use of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s photograph on Covid-19 vaccination certificates, but also slapped a heavy fine on them.
Kerela HC took the petitioners to cleaners :
On Tuesday, the Kerala HC dismissed a plea seeking the removal of PM Modi’s photograph from the COVID-19 vaccine certificate, and imposed a fine of Rs 1 lakh on the petitioner.
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The single-judge bench of Justice P V Kunhikrishnan dismissed the plea, claiming it to be a “frivolous petition”, and noted that “I have a strong doubt that there is a political agenda also to the petitioner.”
The court observed, “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. They can address the citizens saying that what the Government under the leadership of the Prime Minister is doing is not for the welfare of the citizens. But the citizens need not be ashamed to carry a vaccination certificate with the photograph of the Prime Minister with a morale-boosting message, especially in this pandemic situation.”
Petitioner seeks removal of PM’s photo from vaccine certificate:
The petitioner, Peter Maliparambil (an RTI activist and one of the State Coordinators of the National Campaign for the People’s Right to Information (NCPRI)), had contended that the photograph of the Prime Minister in the vaccination certificate is an intrusion of his privacy.
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“The presence of the photograph of the PM in Covid-19 related campaigns and messaging in public places including Railway Stations, Airports, Post Offices, Banks along with the same messages in public websites and social media handles of Government entities, all with photograph and name of PM seems to him, to be designed not for a health campaign. It is an effort to show the campaign as a one man show, propaganda to project an individual at State expenses.’’
Ajit Joy, the petitioner’s advocate, argued that “The photo of the Prime Minister in the certificate has no utility and relevance.”
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However, the court came down heavily on Maliparambil. It observed that “He should study the respect to be given to the Prime Minister and others by watching at least the parliamentary proceedings, which are available live on national TV.”
“The Opposition leaders will object to the policies of the Government with vehemence. But they will address the Prime Minister as the ‘Hon’ble Prime Minister’,” the court said.
Earlier this week, the High Court, while hearing the petition, had said, “Why are you ashamed of your PM? Everyone has different political opinions, but he (Modi) is still our Prime Minister.’’
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The court had also noted that the petitioner was wasting the court’s time. It added, “100 crore people don’t seem to have an issue with the PM’s photo on the vaccination certificate. So why do you? I am just trying to understand?”
The court rightfully stated that people in other countries are not proud of their PM, but we are. Well, the Kerala HC’s decision to impose fine on the petitioner is a tight slap to liberals and those who do not acknowledge Prime Minister’s constant efforts for the development of the nation.