"Provisions of uniform civil code are there in Article 44 of the Constitution. Wide stakeholder consultation would be required for further steps in this regard," Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad told the Lok Sabha in a written reply.
    
Though NDA ministers have made similar statements before the media in the recent past, it is for the first time that the NDA government has put forth its stand on the controversial issue in the Parliament soon after it came to power.
    
Prasad had recently told reporters that government will come out with a "structured response" on the issue in due course.
    
Uniform civil code is part of BJP's election manifesto. "BJP believes that there cannot be gender equality till such time India adopts a uniform civil code which protects the rights of all women and BJP reiterates its stand to draft a uniform civil code, drawing upon the best traditions and harmonising them with the modern times," the manifesto reads.

BJP leaders Subramanian Swamy and Yogi Adityanath said that the Uniform Civil Code already exists in the constitution in Article 44 but emphasized that there is a need to discuss and deliberate on the matter with everyone.

“It is extremely important to have common laws for marriage and inheritance,” Swamy said.

SP leader Naresh Agarwal, however, argued that different sections of the society would never let the BJP to promote its agenda.

Responding to another question on the issue of "bench hunting", he said media reports have appeared in the recent past about the practice of bench-hunting in the apex judiciary.
    
"However, as per procedure, such complaints are handled in-house by the judiciary," he said.
    
In legal parlance, "bench-hunting" or "forum-shopping" refers to petitioners managing to get their case heard by a particular judge to ensure a favourable order.
    
On the issue people jumping parole, he said the grant of parole is an executive function for which guidelines are generally framed by state governments.
    
"As per available data of National Crime Records Bureau, the number of parole absconders in the country during 2012 was 563 while 201 parole absconders were arrested during the year," the Law Minister said.

JPN/Agencies

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