Supreme Court explains the scope and ambit of powers of the court under Section 319 CrPC

 By:-Anupam Singh Sengar

Recently The Supreme Court has taken a progressive step in the case of Manjeet Singh v. State of Haryana and has explained the ambit of Section 319 of the Code of Criminal Procedure which provides the court with the power to initiate proceedings against persons except of the one who is appearing as guilty of an offence. The Bench of Justices DY Chandrachud and Justice MR Shah in a plea under Section 319 for summoning certain persons as additional accused in a murder case to face trial has delivered this judgment. In the case the Sessions Judge in his conclusion has dismissed the application for summoning it was further supported by Punjab & Haryana High Court and thus the appeal was filed before the Supreme Court. Following main principal are laid by Supreme Court.  

1That the main objective is not to allow the genuine offender of an incident to go unpunished while utilizing the authorities under Section 319 CrPC.

2 It is for the courts to be empowered in order to guarantee that the criminal justice system functions effectively.

 3 They elaborated that because the court is the sole source of justice and is charged with upholding the rule of law, the denial of such power in their criminal justice system would be inappropriate, as it is not unusual for the real accused to manipulate the investigation.

 4 Except at the stage of Sections 207/208 CrPC, committal, etc., which is simply a beforehand step designed to set the process in motion, the power under Section 319(1) CrPC can be used at any time after the charge-sheet is submitted and before the pronouncement of judgment;

5 Only after the trial has begun and the evidence has been recorded the court can utilize the power under Section 319 CrPC.

6 Only such evidence as is made before the court, in regard to statements, and as is brought before the court, in relation to records, is referred to as “evidence” under Section 319 CrPC.

 7 That the Magistrate/court is convinced on the basis of evidence appearing in examination-in-chief, powers under Section 319 CrPC can be exercised;

8 This power can be utilised even after the examination-in-chief is completed, and the court does not have to wait until the evidence is put to the test during cross-examination.

9 The Court is still not powerless under Section 319 CrPC, even when the chance to summon those named in the FIR but not implicated in the charge-sheet has gone and can summon them. 10 The Court is not obliged to justify in evaluating the evidence of the prosecution witnesses on the merits, while exercising its authority under Section 319 CrPC.