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Man knocks on HC’s door to remove PM’s photo from COVID vaccine certificate

The Kerala High Court has been contacted by an RTI activist from Kottayam who wants Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s photo removed from his COVID-19 vaccination certificate in order to ‘protect his fundamental right’. Petitioner Peter Myaliparambil said: ‘The petitioner has a right to be left alone’. It is the petitioner’s right to be freed from messages that appear to the petitioner as nothing more than propaganda and publicity for an individual. During his plea, Myaliparambil, a senior citizen, said he paid for the Covishield vaccine he bought at a Kottayam private hospital, mainly because the vaccine isn’t available at designated hospitals.

‘The petitioner has paid for his vaccination. In fact, it was the non-availability of free vaccine slots that led to the petitioner opting for the paid vaccination. The state has no right to claim the credit by inserting a photograph of the Hon’ble Prime Minister in the certificate issued to a paid-vaccine recipient,’ Myaliparambil said. To emphasize the point that no head of state or government had attempted to promote himself/herself through the use of vaccination certificates, the petitioner attached copies of vaccination certificates from other countries.

According to the Telegraph, the petitioner contends nobody has the right to invade his privacy. A letter containing the petitioner’s personal information and a medical record, which is issued to him in his name, is his private space. Myaliparambil said the State has no right to access the space, any more than the petitioner consents to it.

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According to the petitioner, a COVID certificate is only intended to verify that an individual has been vaccinated. A vaccination certificate merely confirms the status of vaccination of a person. According to him, the photograph of the Hon’ble Prime Minister has no relevance (to) such a certificate, as can be seen from certificates issued by other countries. During the national vaccination campaign, the petitioner said, the media campaign had been turned into a ‘one-man show, a propaganda campaign to project the individual at the expense of the State’. Justice P B Suresh Kumar of the Kerala High Court has asked the Union and state governments to respond within two weeks.

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