Why Modi’s photo on Covid vaccine certificate: Kerala man files plea with court
A man from Kottayam district in the South Indian state of Kerala has moved a petition with a court expressing dissatisfaction over his Covid-19 certificate bearing Indian Premier Narendra Modi's photograph, reports BBC.
The court is set to hear the petition next week, according to the BBC report.
Requesting a new Covid-19 vaccination certificate without Modi's photo, Peter M (62) stressed in the petition that the Indian PM's photo on the certificate violated his fundamental rights.
"By putting his picture on my certificate, he's intruding into the private space of citizens. It's unconstitutional and I'm requesting the honourable prime minister to stop this wrong, shameful act immediately," Peter, a right to information activist and a member of opposition Congress party, told the BBC.
"It's inappropriate in a democracy and of absolutely no use to the nation or any individual," he added.
The Covid-19 vaccine certificates issued by the Indian health ministry carry Modi's photograph along with two messages -- in English and local languages – alongside the bearer's personal details.
The photo and the quotes were included to the certificates "in larger public interest" to encourage people to follow appropriate behavior amid Covid-19 even after being vaccinated, Bharati Pravin Pawar, India's junior health minister, told the parliament in August.
Those who have taken the vaccine are "already convinced of its utility", Peter M argued, adding that the messages in the certificate are "no more than preaching to the converted".
Mentioning that Narendra Modi is neither India's first premier and nor is this India's first vaccination programme, Peter said, "The campaign against Covid-19 and the vaccine programme is being projected as a one-man show, a propaganda tool for the prime minister."
He added that he had to pay for his own jab at a private hospital because of long queue for appointments at government-run hospitals giving out free vaccines.
"I paid 750 rupees [US$10] for each jab so why should PM Modi's photo be on my certificate?" he asked while talking to BBC.
The Kerala High Court has given the federal and state governments two weeks to respond.
PM Modi's photograph on the vaccine certificate has also been criticised by political oppositions.
Senior Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra accused Modi of using the vaccination drive for "personal publicity", while West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said Modi should put his picture on death certificates too.
"You made your photo compulsory on Covid-19 certificates. Now put it on death certificates too," she said at a press conference.