More Than A Prima Facie Case Is Necessary To Summon Additional Accused Under CrPC- SC Observes On Power Of Summoning
A Supreme Court Bench of Justice Surya Kant and Justice JK Maheshwari has held that the power of summoning under Section 319 Cr.P.C. is not to be exercised routinely, and the existence of more than a prima facie case is necessary to summon an additional accused.
Counsel SK Verma appeared for the Appellants, while Counsel Deepkaran Dalal appeared for the Respondents.
In this case, the Appellants appeared before the Supreme Court as they were discontent with the High Court's decision to summon the Appellants as additional accused in a trial.
On the perusal of the relevant provisions of the law, the Court observed that "It is, thus, manifested from a conjoint reading of the cited decisions that power of summoning under Section 319 Cr.P.C. is not to be exercised routinely and the existence of more than a prima facie case is sine quo non to summon an additional accused. We may hasten to add that with a view to prevent the frequent misuse of power to summon additional accused under Section 319 Cr.P.C., and in conformity with the binding judicial dictums referred to above, the procedural safeguard can be that ordinarily the summoning of a person at the very threshold of the trial may be discouraged and the trial court must evaluate the evidence against the persons sought to be summoned and then adjudge whether such material is, more or less, carry the same weightage and value as has been testified against those who are already facing trial. In the absence of any credible evidence, the power under Section 319 Cr.P.C. ought not to be invoked."
In light of the same, the Court was of the considered view that the summoning of Appellant No. 1 could be sustained, while that of Appellant No. 2 and Appellant No. 3 would be farfetched and they should not be subjected to trial on the basis of mere strong suspicion.
Accordingly, the High Court order was modified for Appellant No. 2 and Appellant No. 3, while it was held that Appellant No. 1 was liable to be tried and appeal was partly allowed.
Cause Title: Juhru & Ors. v. Karim & Anr.