In HARDEEP SINGH VS STATE OF PUNJAB, the court answered the following issues:
Q. What is the stage at which power under Section 319 Cr.P.C. can be exercised?
Q. Whether the word “evidence” used in Section 319(1) Cr.P.C. has been used in a comprehensive sense and includes the evidence collected during investigation or the word “evidence” is limited to the evidence recorded during trial?
In Dharam Pal’s case, the Constitution Bench has already held that after committal, cognizance of an offence can be taken against a person not named as an accused but against whom materials are available from the papers filed by the police after completion of investigation. Such cognizance can be taken under Section 193 Cr.P.C. and the Sessions Judge need not wait till ‘evidence’ under
Section 319 Cr.P.C. becomes available for summoning an additional accused.
Section 319 Cr.P.C., significantly, uses two expressions that have to be taken note of i.e. (1) Inquiry
(2) Trial. As a trial commences after framing of charge, an inquiry can only be understood to be a pre-trial inquiry. Inquiries under Sections 200, 201, 202 Cr.P.C.;and under Section 398 Cr.P.C. are
species of the inquiry contemplated by Section 319 Cr.P.C. Materials coming before the Court in course of such enquiries can be used for corroboration of the evidence recorded in the court after the trial commences, for the exercise of power under Section 319 Cr.P.C., and also to add an accused whose name has been shown in Column 2 of the chargesheet.
In view of the above position the word ‘evidence’ in Section 319 Cr.P.C. has to be broadly understood and not literally i.e. as evidence brought during a trial.
Q.Whether the word “evidence” used in Section 319(1) Cr.P.C. could only mean evidence tested by cross-examination or the court can exercise the power under the said provision even on the basis of the statement made in the examination-in-chief of the witness concerned?
A. Considering the fact that under Section 319 Cr.P.C. a person against whom material is disclosed is only summoned to face the trial and in such an event under Section 319(4) Cr.P.C. the proceeding against such person is to commence from the stage of taking of cognizance, the Court need not wait for the evidence against the accused proposed to be summoned to be tested by cross-examination.
Q. What is the nature of the satisfaction required to invoke the power under
Section 319 Cr.P.C. to arraign an accused? Whether the power under Section 319 (1) Cr.P.C. can be exercised only if the court is satisfied that the accused summoned will in all likelihood be convicted?
A. Though under Section 319(4)(b) Cr.P.C. the accused subsequently impleaded is to be treated as if
he had been an accused when the Court initially took cognizance of the offence, the degree of satisfaction that will be required for summoning a person under Section 319 Cr.P.C. would be the same as for ?framing a charge. The difference in the degree of satisfaction for summoning the original accused and a subsequent accused is on account of the fact that the trial may have already commenced against the original accused and it is in the course of such trial that materials are disclosed against the newly summoned accused. Fresh summoning of an accused will result in delay of the trial – therefore the degree of satisfaction for summoning the accused (original and subsequent) has to be different.
Q. Does the power under Section 319 Cr.P.C. extend to persons not named in the FIR or named in the FIR but not chargesheeted or who have been discharged?
A. A person not named in the FIR or a person though named in the FIR but has not been chargesheeted or a person who has been discharged can be summoned under Section 319 Cr.P.C.
provided from the evidence it appears that such person can be tried along with the accused already facing trial. However, in so far as an accused who has been discharged is concerned the requirement
of Sections 300 and 398 Cr.P.C. has to be complied with before he can be summoned afresh.