Government has asked the Law Commission to examine the issue of implementation of a Uniform Civil Code, a move opposed by the Congress, Muslim Majlis and some activists.
The move by the Modi government was, however, welcomed by the BJP.
The Department of Legal Affairs has asked the Commission, a recommendatory body, to submit a report on the issue 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 government is likely to inform the Supreme Court of its decision to refer the matter of the common code to the Law Commission when the matter comes up in September.
Congress spokesman Abhishek Singhvi accused the Centre of deliberately raking up the civil code issue in view of the Assembly polls in Uttar Pradesh that is due in 2017, alleging it was "cheap politics" of BJP to create communal polarisation.
Reacting to the government decision, the BJP favoured a uniform civil code, saying that it has been opposed due to vote bank politics despite finding a mention in the Constitution.
"There should be an open debate over it. The Constitution calls for it and those who oppose it only shows their intolerance to the Constitution. We have always advocated it. There should be uniform civil code. It has been opposed due to vote bank politics," party's National Secretary Shrikant Sharma said.
All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen's Asaduddin Owaisi dubbed the move as an attempt by the government to turn the nation into a "Hindu Rashtra".
Shaista Amber, who had been fighting for the cause of Muslim women, said the Commission should hold wider consultations before reaching a conclusion.
Law Minister D. V. Sadananda Gowda had earlier said that the issue could be referred to the Law Commission for examination.
Implementation of a uniform civil code is one of the core issues of BJP and the Sangh Parivar but the NDA governments in 1998 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.