Section 319 of The Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 I

The parameters of exercise of power under Section 319, CrPC has been explained by this Court time and again. It is sufficient to refer to Constitution Bench Judgment in Hardeep Singh, (2014) 3 SCC 92. Constitution Bench held, the person against whom Court decides to proceed, “has to be a person whose complicity may be indicated and connected with the commission of the offence”. Constitution Bench has given a caution, power under Section 319 is a discretionary and extraordinary power, which should be exercised sparingly and only in those cases where the circumstances of the case so warrant. The crucial test that has to be applied is, “one which is more than prima facie case as exercised at the time of framing of charge, but short of satisfaction to an extent that the evidence, if goes unrebutted, would lead to conviction”. The mere fact, Court has power to proceed against any person who is not named in the FIR or in the Charge Sheet does not mean whenever in a statement recorded before Court, name of any person is taken, Court has to mechanically issue process under Section 319. Court has to consider substance of the evidence which has come before it and, as laid down by Constitution Bench in Hardeep Singh, has to apply the test.”

– Hon’ble Justice Ashok Bhushan, Labhuji v. State of Gujarat, [Criminal Appeal No. 1349 of 2018].

Also see, Sartaj Singh v. State of Haryana, [Criminal Appeal No. 298-299 of 2021] decided on 15.03.2021 and Manjeet Singh v. State of Haryana, [Criminal Appeal No. 875 of 2021] decided on 24.08.2021 and Sagar v. State of U.P., [Ciminal Appeal No. 397 of 2022] decided on 10.03.2022.