Strong Evidence Required to Add Additional Accused u/Section 319 of CrPC- Supreme Court

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Case name: Periyasami and ors. v. S. Nallasamy

The present appeal challengedorder passed by the High Court of Madras, whereby the Court allowed the respondent’s application under Section 319 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 for arraigning of additional accused appellants not named in the FIR.

The Respondent in the case had filed an application under Section 319 of CrPC to summon 20 accused persons named in the application as additional accused. It is also pointed out that names of the proposed accused were not disclosed in the First Information Report nor came to light during investigation.

Bench’s verdict

The Two-Judge Bench of the Supreme Court set aside the High Court’s order and held it to be unsustainable in law.

The Court noted that in the case the husband who is the Complainant has levelled allegations against the wife and her other family members. Though in the FIR, Complainant has mentioned that 15 women and 35 men came by vehicles but the names of 11 persons alone were disclosed in the FIR and in statements recorder, the Complainant and his witnesses have not disclosed any other name except the 11 persons named in the FIR.

In view of the circumstances, the Apex Court was of the view that the Complainant has sought to cast net wide so as to include numerous other persons while moving an application under Section 319 of the Code without there being primary evidence about their role in house trespass or of threatening the Complainant.

While noting the content of the FIR, the Court opined that the allegations in the FIR are vague and can be used any time to include any person in the absence of description in the FIR to identify such person.

It was also noted that there were no strong or cogent evidence to make the appellants stand the trial for the alleged offences, thus additional accused cannot be summoned under Section 319 of CrPC.

That under Section 319 of the Code additional accused can be summoned only if there is more than prima facie case as is required at the time of framing of charge but which is less than the satisfaction required at the time of conclusion of the trial convicting the accused.

Hence, while dismissing the application under Section 319 of CrPC, the Apex Court held that mere disclosing the names of the appellants cannot be said to be strong and cogent evidence to make them to stand trial for the offence under Section 319 of the Code, especially when the Complainant is a husband and has initiated criminal proceedings against family of his in-laws and when their names or other identity were not disclosed at the first opportunity.

The entire case can be accessed here.

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