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Jitendra Nath Mishra vs. State Of Uttar Pradesh - (Supreme Court) (02 Jun 2023)

For exercise of the power under Section 319 of Cr. PC, the evidence on record must show the involvement of a person in the commission of a crime



Present appeal, by special leave, takes exception to an order of the High Court. The impugned order dismissed an appeal filed by the Appellant under Section 14A(1) of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities Act, 1989 (‘1989 Act’). Under challenge in the appeal was a summoning order passed by the relevant Special Court under the 1989 Act, in exercise of power conferred on him by Section 319, Code of Criminal Procedure (‘CrPC’).

Section 319 of Cr. PC, which envisages a discretionary power, empowers the court holding a trial to proceed against any person not shown or mentioned as an accused if it appears from the evidence that such person has committed a crime for which he ought to be tried together with the accused who is facing trial. Such power can be exercised by the court qua a person who is not named in the FIR, or named in the FIR but not shown as an accused in the charge-sheet. Therefore, what is essential for exercise of the power under Section 319 of CrPC is that the evidence on record must show the involvement of a person in the commission of a crime and that the said person, who has not been arraigned as an accused, should face trial together with the accused already arraigned.

However, the court holding a trial, if it intends to exercise power conferred by Section 319 of CrPC, must not act mechanically merely on the ground that some evidence has come on record implicating the person sought to be summoned; its satisfaction preceding the order thereunder must be more than prima facie as formed at the stage of a charge being framed and short of satisfaction to an extent that the evidence, if unrebutted, would lead to conviction.

True it is, the Appellant was not named in the FIR; but, that by itself, cannot be held to be decisive. Once it is conceded that the appellant is a sibling of Dharmendra and he is named as one of the assailants, the material for forming the requisite satisfaction cannot be said to be non-existent. The Special Court formed the requisite satisfaction prior to summoning the appellant to face trial with another accused. The order of the Special Bench and the impugned order of the High Court affirming it cannot be faulted. Appeal dismissed.


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