New Delhi, Oct 13: A Uniform Civil Code is necessary for national integration but any decision to bring it can be taken only after wider consultations, Law Minister DV Sadananda Gowda said today, a day after the Supreme Court asked the Centre whether it is willing to bring in a common code.
The Minister also said that he would consult the Prime Minister, his Cabinet colleagues and top law officers before government files its affidavit in the apex court.
Gowda said "wider consultations" will be held with various personal law boards and other stakeholders to evolve a consensus and the process may take "some time".
"...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 very wider consultation.
Even communities, even across the party line, even various organisations...it need to have a wider consultation," Gowda said.
He said a decision "cannot be done in a day or two. It will take its own time."
"But the concept of the Preamble of the Constitution and Article 44 and today in the national interest, certainly a step further need to be taken in this direction," he said.
The minister said he had made a similar statement in the Lok Sabha in April when the issue came up for discussion. He said the high courts of Kerala and Karnataka have already given their judgment when they were dealing with some marriage laws saying a common code is the "need of the country."
"But a decision has to be taken after due consultation with various stakeholders," he said.
He said the contents of the proposed affidavit will be finalised after his consultations with the PM, his cabinet colleagues, the Attorney General and the Solicitor General.
He said while the affidavit's contents will be decided after government's internal consultations, a decision on when to implement a common code can only be taken after "wider consultations" with chairpersons of personal law boards and other stakeholders.
Terming it as a "national issue", he said if tomorrow a small discussion is left out, then it will become a big issue.
"There are several issues across the country today wherein people are finding something, so it will take some time."