A day after the Supreme Court asked the government if it intended to bring Uniform Civil Code in the country, Union Law Minister D V Sadananda Gowda asserted that a common code was “necessary for national integration”. He, however, added that the issue required discussions with all stakeholders, including various personal law boards, to evolve consensus and could take “some time”.
Asked if the government will respond in affirmative to the Supreme Court query, Gowda said the contents of the proposed government affidavit will be finalised after consultations with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, his cabinet colleagues, and the top law officers of the country.
“…Even the Preamble of our Constitution and Article 44 of the Constitution do say that there should be a Uniform Civil Code. For the interest of national integration, certainly a common civil code is necessary. But it is a very sensitive issue. It needs wider consultations,” he said.
Asked if there was a time-frame within which the government planned to act, the minister said such a decision “cannot be done in a day or two”. “It will take its own time…(But) certainly a step further needs to be taken in this direction,” he said.
He also pointed out that the high courts of Kerala and Karnataka, in their judgments dealing with some marriage laws, had already said that a common code was needed.
Asked why the government had not gone ahead with the Uniform Civil Code despite it being part of the BJP’s core ideology, Gowda said, “Till today we could not go further because the matter was pending in some high courts and even in the apex court. Slowly we have to take up the issue.”
To a similar query about building a Ram Temple in Ayodhya, and abrogation of Article 370, Gowda said the party never said these things will be done immediately.
Asked if the government planned to consult its Jammu & Kashmir coalition partner, the PDP, on the issue of a judgment by the J&K High Court on the need to continue with Article 370 and moving the Supreme Court, Gowda refused to say anything, adding he was yet to go through the order.
Yesterday, a bench of Justice Vikramjit Sen and Justice Shiva Kirti Singh had questioned the Centre’s stand on implementing a Uniform Civil Code.