In a recent judgment of Sugreev Kumar v. State of Punjab, a bench comprising of Justice Dinesh Maheshwari and Abhay Mohan Sapre has said that to invoke section 319 of CrPC stronger evidence is required than a mere probability of involvement. The bench was hearing the matter in appeal arising out of Punjab and Haryana High Court order dated 2 Feb 2018 in Cri. Revision Application No. 2626/2014 whereby High Court has upheld the order of Additional Sessions Judge, Fazilka.
Facts of the Case
What is Section 319 of CrPC?
Section 319 of CrPC deals with the power of the court to proceed against that person who appears to be guilty of offence, that person can be summoned by the court for fresh trial. The main aim of this provision is that real culprits should not get away without punishment. In this case, the court said that Court is empowered to proceed against any person not shown as an accused, if it appears from the evidence that such person has committed any offence for which, he could be tried together with the other accused persons.
Court’s observation in the current case
Court has set aside the Punjab and Haryana High Court order and directed the trial court to reconsider the prayer of prosecution for proceeding against the proposed accused person afresh and the court also said that it is made clear that we have not pronounced on the merits of the case.
Conclusion and Case Comment
The court was quick in observing that section 319 of CrPC is a discretionary power and hence, it must be exercised sparingly and only in those cases where it appears that stronger evidence is there to suggest that it is in the interest of justice to invoke the said section. In the current case, court has also relied upon the previous judgment of the honourable Supreme Court and explained them with a fresh view in order to reach the conclusion.
At last, we can say that this was a balanced judgment and supreme court has only opined on the aspect of section 319 of CrPC and made it clear that it is the trial court who will decide on the merit of the case.