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Power U/S 319 CrPC is a discretionary and extraordinary power that should be exercised sparingly: Supreme Court

Power U/S 319 CrPC is a discretionary and extraordinary power that should be exercised sparingly: Supreme Court

On Tuesday, November 1, 2022, the Supreme Court observed that the power of a court under Section 319 CrPC is a discretionary and extraordinary power which should be exercised sparingly. The bench comprising of Ajay Rastogi and CT Ravikumar observed that "The Constitution Bench has given a caution that power under Section 319 CrPC is a discretionary and extraordinary power which should be exercised sparingly and only in those cases where the circumstances of the case so warrant and the crucial test as noticed above 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 bench, while making its observation, took reference to Hardeep Singh vs. the state of Punjab and others, where it was stated that "Power under Section 319 CrPC is a discretionary and an extra­ordinary power. It is to be exercised sparingly and only in those cases where the circumstances of the case so warrant. It is not to be exercised because the Magistrate or the Sessions Judge is of the opinion that some other person may also be guilty of committing that offence. Only where strong and cogent evidence occurs against a person from the evidence led before the court that such power should be exercised and not in a casual and cavalier manner."

In this case, the trial judge denied the complainant's application under Section 319 CrPC to summon a person to face trial in a rape case. The complainant stated in her application that she had named the said person as an accused in her initial version, but the police did not challan them in collusion with them. The High Court later overturned this order and granted the application.

Referring to the evidence on record, the bench stated that if unrebutted, it would not be sufficient to lead to the conviction of the current appellant. As a result, the High Court order was reversed.

Case Title: Naveen vs State of Haryana

Criminal Appeal No. 1866 of 2022

Read the Complete judgment on the following link:-

https://main.sci.gov.in/supremecourt/2022/8196/8196_2022_7_1501_39286_Judgement_01-Nov-2022.pdf

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