The Hon’ble Supreme Court in the matter of Labhuji Amratji Thakor & Ors. v. The State of Gujarat & Anr. on 13th November 2018, pronounced that while considering an application under Section 319 Cr.P.C the court should consider substance of the evidence rather than mechanically issuing process.
The Hon’ble Supreme Court observed that:
Section 319 Cr.P.C. provides that where, in the course of any inquiry into, or trial of, an offence, it appears from the evidence that any person not being the accused has committed any offence for which such person could be tried together with the accused, the Court may proceed against such person for the offence which he appears to have committed. The Court, thus, during the trial on the basis of any evidence is fully empowered to proceed against any person, whose name was not even included in the F.I.R. or the Charge Sheet. (Para 6)
The mere fact that Court has power under Section 319 Cr.P.C. to proceed against any person who is not named in the F.I.R. or in the Charge Sheet does not mean that whenever in a statement recorded before the Court, name of any person is taken, the Court has to mechanically issue process under Section 319 Cr.P.C. (Para 12)
The Court has to consider substance of the evidence, which has come before it and has to apply the test, i.e., “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.” (Para 12)
Copy of the Judgement : Judgement 13-Nov-2018