The Allahabad High Court on Monday said that tolerance and respect for all communities are absolutely essential to keep the country united, Live Law reported.

“It was due to the wisdom of our founding fathers that we have a Constitution which is secular in character...,” a bench of Justices Pritinker Diwaker and Ashutosh Srivastava said, according to Live Law. “It is the Constitution of India which is keeping us together despite all our tremendous diversity, because the Constitution gives equal respect to all communities, sects, lingual and ethnic groups etc. in the country.”

The court made the observation while dismissing a plea filed by a social worker, Shahida, against the Uttar Pradesh government’s decision to ban the sale of meat and liquor in Mathura and Vrindavan.

The ban was imposed in 22 wards under the Mathura-Vrindavan Municipal Corporation in September after a notification by the Uttar Pradesh government had declared them as holy pilgrimage sites.

In her plea before the High Court, the social worker had contended that on account of the restrictions imposed by the government, people were not able to consume non-vegetarian food or do business in meat.

She also argued that the restriction violates Article 19 (1) (g) (to practise any profession) and Article 21 (protection of life and personal liberty) of the Constitution.

On the other hand, the Uttar Pradesh government told the court that Mathura and Vrindavan are prominent places with great historical and religious importance. The state said the ban was imposed only in 22 wards of the city to maintain their sanctity.

The court in its order said that it was dismissing the plea as the petitioner had not directly challenged the ban imposed by the state government.

“In the absence of any challenge to the above notification and the government order, it can safely be presumed that the petitioner is not aggrieved by the same,” the court said. “This court, therefore, does not deem it appropriate to dwell into the validity of the aforesaid notification and the government order.”

The judges added that certain violations of the fundamental rights were also pointed out by the petitioner, but “surprisingly no relief has been prayed for in the writ petition”.