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Trail Court does not need to wait for cross examination to summon persons under Section 319 Cr.P.C: Supreme Court of India

Underlining the scope of Section 319 CrPC it was held that Trial Court  can summon the private respondents in exercise of powers under Section 319 CrPC on the basis of the evidence recorded which includes statements of both  the appellant and other eye witnesses ie on basis of examination in chief. This was decided in the case of Sartaj Singh v State of Haryana & Anr. [CRIMINAL APPEAL NOS. 298­299 OF 2021] in the Supreme Court of India division bench consisting of Hon’ble Justices DY Chandrachud and Hon’ble  Justice M R Shah.

The appellant was attacked and severely injured on the basis of his statement,  FIR as lodged for the offenses under Sections 148,149, 341, 323, 324, 307 and 506 IPC against multiple respondents. Charge­-sheet was filed against only four accused, but not against the other private respondents. In his examination in chief appellant named the private respondents and on application before the learned Trial Court under Section 319 CrPC, the court passed order for summoning of the additional accused – private respondents.

The High Court on basis of  revision applications preferred by the private respondents quashed and set aside the order passed by the learned Trial Court summoning the additional private respondents based on probability and likelihood of the accused getting convicted whilst appreciating the deposition of the injured eye witness.

The Supreme court in order to establish the scope of Section 319 Cr.P.C referred to the the judgement of Hardeep Singh vs State Of Punjab wherein it was held “The power under Section 319 CrPC can be exercised at the stage of completion of examination­ in­ chief and the court does not need to wait till the said evidence is tested on cross­ examination for it is the satisfaction of the court which can be gathered from the reasons recorded by the court, in respect of complicity of some other person(s), not facing the trial in the offence.”

The Supreme Court setting aside the order passed by the High Court observed  that the high court had  erred in setting aside the order passed by the learned Trial Court and was only required to consider as to whether there is any prima facie case. The high court is not required to appreciate the evidence that shall be scrutinized by the trial court.

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