Read Order: Balbir Singh v. State of Punjab

Monika Rahar

Chandigarh,  June 14, 2022: The Punjab and Haryana High Court has recently held that a prospective accused can be summoned even on the basis of the examination-in-chief and cross-examination as such is not required. However, the Court should record its satisfaction that there were reasonable prospects of the conviction of the accused sought to be summoned.

The Single Judge Bench of Justice Jasjit Singh Bedi was considering a matter wherein an FIR under Sections 323, 325, 341, 34 of the IPC was registered at the instance of the informant-complainant alleging that the accused persons assaulted his son and injured him with their respective weapons.

On raising a hue and cry, the accused persons ran away from the spot. The bone of contention was that the accused persons were pressurizing the complainant party to withdraw the case against them under Section 376 IPC filed by the sister-in-law of the complainant. 

The petitioner and his injured son were admitted to the hospital. Based on the aforementioned allegation, the FIR came to be registered and a report under Section 173 was submitted against four accused persons.

The statements of the complainant and his son were recorded as the first and second prosecution witnesses. After the cross-examination of the witnesses, an application under Section 319 Cr.P.C. was moved before the Magistrate for summoning the remaining accused persons. 

The application was partly allowed by the Trial Court thereby summoning five more accused, however, two were still not summoned.

Aggrieved, the petitioner filed a criminal revision, which was dismissed. Hence, the present quashing plea was filed. 

It was the case of the counsel for the petitioner that the petitioner was prejudiced on account of the non-summoning of the two accused. Further, the Counsel submitted that the Trial Court as also the Revisional Court adopted a casual attitude in not summoning the said accused despite the fact that the said accused were categorically named in the depositions of the complainant and the injured witness.

After considering the rival submissions as also the law laid down by the Top Court, the High Court observed at the very outset that a prospective accused can be summoned even on the basis of the examination- in-chief and cross-examination as such is not required. 

However, Justice Bedi added that what is re- quired is that the Court records its satisfaction that there were reasonable prospects of the conviction of the accused sought to be summoned.  On the degree of satisfaction which is required to be recorded, the Court added, “Further, the degree of satisfaction required for summoning an accused must be more than that required for framing charges against the existing original accused.”

Coming to the present case, the Court observed that contrary to what was contended by the Counsel for the petitioner, the two accused persons who were not named in the FIR by the complainant or by the injured during the police investigation. Thus, the Court concluded that the complainant and his son-injured Amanpreet Singh made a substantial improvement in their depositions in Court. 

Therefore, it was held by the Court that it could not be said that from the evidence on record, the persons sought to be summoned committed any offence for which such persons could be tried together with the accused already facing trial. Accordingly, the petition was dismissed. 

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