New Delhi (PTI): The Supreme Court on Monday said it will consider setting up a three-judge bench to adjudicate the case related to wearing of the Islamic head covering in Karnataka schools following its split verdict.

A bench comprising Chief Justice DY Chandarchud, and Justices V Ramasubramanian and JB Pardiwala, took note of the submissions of senior advocate Meenakshi Arora that an interim order was needed keeping in mind the practical examinations, scheduled for some classes from February 6 in the state.

"This is the headscarf matter. The girls have practical examinations from February 6, 2023 and this matter needs to be listed for interim directions so that they can appear. The practical examinations will be held in government schools," the senior lawyer said, appearing for some students.

"I will examine it. This is a three judge bench matter. We will allot a date," the CJI said.

A two judge bench of the apex court had on October 13, last year delivered opposing verdicts in the hijab controversy, and urged the Chief Justice to constitute an appropriate bench to adjudicate the case that stemmed from a ban on wearing of Islamic head covering in Karnataka schools.

While Justice Hemant Gupta, since retired, had dismissed the appeals challenging the March 15 judgement of the Karnataka High Court which had refused to lift the ban, Justice Sudhanshu Dhulia held there will be no restriction on the wearing of hijab anywhere in the schools and colleges of the state.

Permitting a community to wear its religious symbols to schools will be an "antithesis to secularism," Justice Gupta had said, while Justice Dhulia insisted that wearing the Muslim headscarf should simply be a "matter of choice."

With the apex court delivering a split verdict, the high court's judgement still holds the field. However, the split verdict held off a permanent resolution of the row over hijab as both judges suggested placing the matter before a larger bench for adjudication.

On March 15, the high court dismissed the petitions filed by a section of Muslim students of the Government Pre-University Girls College in Karnataka's Udupi seeking permission to wear the hijab inside classrooms, ruling it is not a part of the essential religious practice in Islamic faith.

Several appeals were filed in the apex court against the verdict.

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Tumakuru (K'taka), Feb 6: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday inaugurated the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited's helicopter factory -- the country's largest chopper manufacturing facility -- in Tumakuru district of Karnataka.

Bengaluru-headquartered HAL plans to produce more than 1,000 helicopters in the range of 3-15 tonne with a total business of more than Rs 4 lakh crore over a period of 20 years at this facility in Gubbi taluk, officials said.

The factory, spread across 615 acres for which the Prime Minister laid the foundation stone in 2016, would initially manufacture Light Utility Helicopters (LUH)).

It will enable India to meet its entire requirement of helicopters without import and giving much-needed fillip to the Prime Minister's vision of 'Aatmanirbhar Bharat' in helicopter design, development, and manufacture, they said.

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai and senior officials of Ministry of Defence were among those present on the occasion.

"It is a dedicated new greenfield helicopter factory which will enhance India's capacity and ecosystem to build helicopters," Singh said.
Assembly polls in Karnataka are due by May.

PM Modi unveiled the LUH, which has been flight tested. The LUH is an indigenously designed and developed three-tonne class, single-engine multipurpose utility helicopter. Initially, the factory will produce around 30 helicopters per year and can be enhanced to 60 and then 90 every year in a phased manner, according to the Defence Ministry.

The factory will be augmented to produce other helicopters such as Light Combat Helicopters (LCHs) and Indian Multirole Helicopters (IMRHs). It will also be used for maintenance, repair and overhaul of LCH, LUH, Civil Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH) and IMRH in the future.

Potential exports of civil LUH will also be catered to from this factory, which is being equipped with state-of-the-art Industry 4.0 standard tools and techniques for its operations, officials said.

The proximity of the factory, with the existing HAL facilities in Bengaluru, will boost the aerospace manufacturing ecosystem in the region and support skill and infrastructure development such as schools, colleges and residential areas, it was noted.

The factory is fully operational after the establishment of facilities like heli-runway, flight hangar, final assembly hangar, structure assembly hangar, air traffic control and various supporting service facilities, officials said.