New Delhi: Ravi Shankar Prasad, who took over as the Union Law Minister on Wednesday, said the decision of the government to refer the issue of implementation of a uniform civil code in the country to the Law Commission should not be linked to the Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh due next year.
"Do not link it with polls. There will be polls in Uttarakhand also...the fact is that Article 44 of the Constitution talks of a common code. The Supreme Court on various occasions has made observations on uniform code...it is in our (BJP's) election manifesto," he said.
Prasad said there was a need for a "wider consultation" on the issue before arriving at a decision.
"There is need for a wider consultation. The Law Commission has been asked to hold consultations. Whatever report it gives is its discretion," he told reporters in Delhi on a volley of questions on uniform civil code.
The Department of Legal Affairs had last month asked the Commission, a recommendatory body, to submit a report on the issue of a common code that has always been dear to BJP and the Sangh Parivar.
The move assumes significance as the Supreme Court had recently said it would prefer a wider public debate before taking a decision on the constitutional validity of 'triple talaq', which many complain is abused by Muslim men to arbitrarily divorce their wives.
The move was welcomed by the BJP and opposed by the Muslim Majlis and some activists.
Implementation of a uniform civil code is one of the core issues of BJP and the Sangh Parivar but the NDA governments in 1989 and 1999 and the current dispensation headed by Narendra Modi have put the contentious issues like scrapping of Article 370 and construction of Ram temple on the back burner.