N. Manogar vs The Inspector Of Police on 16 February, 2024

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Supreme Court of India

N. Manogar vs The Inspector Of Police on 16 February, 2024

Author: Vikram Nath

Bench: Vikram Nath

2024 INSC 130




                                                                           REPORTABLE

                                       IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
                                      CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION

                                  CRIMINAL APPEAL NO(S).                       OF 2024
                            [Arising out of Special Leave Petition (Crl.) No(s). 8696 of 2021]


                             N. MANOGAR & ANR.                          …APPELLANT(S)

                                                          VERSUS

                             THE INSPECTOR OF POLICE
                             & ORS.                                   …RESPONDENT(S)


                                                          ORDER

1. Leave granted.

2. The present appeal has been filed by the Appellant(s)
assailing the correctness of a decision of the Madras High Court
(the “High Court”) dated 13.09.2021, setting aside an order
dated 24.10.2019 passed by the Ld. XIV Metropolitan
Magistrate, Egmore, Chennai (the “Trial Court”) whereunder,
the Trial Court rejected the application instituted by the
Complainant under Section 216 read with Section 319 of the
Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (the “CrPC”) seeking (i) the
Signature Not Verified

Digitally signed by
summoning of; and (ii) the impleadment of the Appellant(s) as
SONIA BHASIN
Date: 2024.02.22
12:53:10 IST
Reason:

SLP (Crl.) No.8696 of 2021 Page 1 of 9

accused person(s) in connection with Case Crime No. 7243 of
2018 under Section(s) 452, 294(b), 323 and 506(1) of the Indian
Penal Code, 1860 (the “IPC”) (the “Impugned Order”).

3. The brief fact(s) culled out of the record are as follows:

3.1. Pursuant to an order of the High Court dated 24.01.2018,
Respondent No. 1 registered a First Information Report
(“FIR”) dated 20.04.2018 under Section(s) 448, 294(b),
323 and 506(1) of the IPC pursuant to a complaint lodged
by Respondent No. 2 i.e., the Complainant whereunder it
was alleged that, Respondent No. 3 came to the
Complainant’s home asking about one Vidhul i.e., the
Complainant’s son. Upon being told that Viduhl was the
Complainant’ son Respondent No. 3 slapped the
Complainant, pushed her on the sofa, made vulgar
comments and thereafter dragged Vidhul out of the
bathroom and physically assaulted him up until he fell
unconscious. Subsequently, Respondent No. 3 extended
threat(s) to the Complainant. Pertinently, it was also stated
in the FIR that Respondent No. 3 was accompanied by her
husband and another ‘boy’, however no role was ascribed
to aforesaid person(s).

3.2. A chargesheet came to be filed before the Trial Court by
Respondent No. 1 against Respondent No. 3 under
Section(s) 294(b), 323, 506(1) and 448 IPC. Subsequently
the charge under Section 448 IPC came to be altered to
Section 452 IPC. Pertinently, the Complainant, other
eyewitnesses and the doctor who examined the injured
victim(s) only named; and ascribed a role to Respondent
No. 3 in their statement(s) under Section 161 CrPC before
the investigating authorities.

SLP (Crl.) No.8696 of 2021 Page 2 of 9

3.3. An application dated 27.01.2019 under Section 482 CrPC
came to be preferred by the Complainant before the High
Court seeking re-investigation qua the FIR. At this stage,
for first time, the Complainant individually (a) named (i)
Appellant No. 1 i.e., Respondent No. 3’s husband; and (ii)
Appellant No. 2 i.e., a relative of Respondent No. 3; and

(b) ascribed a particular role qua the alleged incident to
them i.e., that the Appellant(s) trespassed into the
Complainant’s home, hurled vulgar abuses and also
threatened to kill the Complainant’s son. It was also stated
that although the Complainant allegedly named the
aforesaid person(s), the same was not recorded in the FIR
(“Re-Investigation Application”). The High Court vide
an order dated 05.02.2019 in the Re-Investigation
Application, observed that the investigation had
concluded; and a chargesheet had be filed by the
investigating authorities. Accordingly, the High Court
granted the Complainant liberty to prefer an application
under Section(s) 319 read with 216 of the CrPC before the
Trial Court seeking impleadment of the Appellants qua the
proceedings emanating from the FIR. Further, the Trial
Court was directed to consider the application of the
Complainant under Section(s) 319 read with 216 of the
CrPC and implead the Appellant(s) as accused person(s)
during the examination of witnesses (if necessary) (the
“Re-Investigation Order”).

3.4. Pursuant to the Re-Investigation Order, an application
dated 19.03.2019 under Section(s) 319 read with 216 of
the CrPC came to be preferred by the Complainant before
the Trial Court whereunder it was stated that (i) despite
naming the Appellants, the FIR only came to be lodged

SLP (Crl.) No.8696 of 2021 Page 3 of 9
against Respondent No. 3 i.e., allegedly the names of the
Appellants were omitted by the investigating authorities;

(ii) the statement(s) recorded by investigating authority
under Section 161 of the CrPC were mechanically
recorded and purposely did not disclose to names of the
Appellants; (iii) that the prosecution witnesses (“PWs”)
Nos. 1-5 have named the Appellants’ during their
examination-in-chief before the Trial Court; and have also
ascribed a specific role to the Appellants’ (the
“Underlying Application”).

3.5. Vide an order dated 06.05.2019, the Trial Court partly
allowed the aforesaid application i.e., impleaded Appellant
No. 1 as an accused person in the proceedings emanating
from the FIR observing inter alia that Appellant No. 1 i.e.,
a policeman ought to have prevented an offence from
taking place and accordingly, his omission would
necessarily amount to abetment, however, the Trial Court
rejected the prayer qua the impleadment of Appellant
No. 2 as an accused on the ground that no reason(s) have
been attributed as to how the Complainant; and other PWs’
have been able to identify the unknown ‘boy’ as Appellant
No. 2.

3.6. Aggrieved by the aforesaid order, revision petition(s) were
filed by Appellant No. 1 and Respondent No.2 before the
High Court. Vide an order dated 10.06.2019, the revision
petition(s) came to be allowed by the High Court on the
ground that the Appellants’ were not issued notice in the
Underlying Application and accordingly, the Underlying
Application could not be decided without affording the
Appellants’ an opportunity of hearing as mandated by this
Court in Jogendra Yadav vs. State of Bihar, (2015) 9 SCC

SLP (Crl.) No.8696 of 2021 Page 4 of 9

244. Thus, the High Court remanded the Underlying
Application back to be considered afresh by the Trial Court
in line with our decision in Hardeep Singh v State of
Punjab & Ors., (2014) 3 SCC 92 (the “Remand Order”).
3.7. Pursuant to the Remand Order, the Trial Court vide an
order dated 24.10.2019 dismissed the Underlying
Application observing inter alia that there is no evidence
qua the involvement of the Appellants to justify
impleading the Appellants as accused person(s) in light of
the fact that no specific allegation(s) had been levelled by
the Complainant in either the underlying complaint; or
before PW-6 i.e., the doctor treating the victim(s)
immediately after the alleged offence (the “Underlying
Order”).

3.8. Aggrieved by the Underlying Order, the Complainant filed
a criminal revision petition before the High Court. Vide the
Impugned Order, the High Court held inter alia that the
allegation(s) in the underlying complaint; and statement(s)
recorded under Section 161 CrPC disclose that the
Appellants were present with Respondent No. 3 at the time
of the commission of the alleged offence; and accordingly
trespassed into the home of the Complainant. Additionally,
the High Court observed that the standard to be adopted by
the Trial Court at the stage of invoking its’ powers under
Section 319 CrPC would be a prima facie satisfaction that
that the accused person has committed the alleged offence.
Accordingly, in view of the aforesaid, the High Court (i)
allowed the criminal revision petition; (ii) set aside the
Underlying Order; and (ii) directed the Trial Court to
implead the Appellants as Accused No. 2 and Accused No.

SLP (Crl.) No.8696 of 2021 Page 5 of 9
3 respectively, in the CC No. 7243 of 2018 before the Trial
Court (the “Underlying Proceedings”).

4. Mr. S. Nagamuthu, learned senior counsel appearing on
behalf of the Appellants has submitted before us that the High
Court has exercised jurisdiction under Section 319 of the CrPC
and erroneously reversed the Trial Court Order without
appreciating (i) that the allegation qua the Appellants are vague
and omnibus; (ii) that there is no evidence on record to suggest
the involvement of the Appellants in the alleged offence; and (iii)
the dicta laid down by this Court in Hardeep Singh (Supra).

5. On the other hand, the learned counsel(s) appearing on
behalf of the Respondent(s) have vehemently opposed the
aforesaid contention; and submitted that the High Court has
rightly appreciated the allegations disclosed in the underlying
complaint, the statement(s) recorded under Section 161 CrPC
and the examination-in-chief of the PWs to conclude that the
evidence on record underscored the involvement of the
Petitioners in the commission of a crime and accordingly, the
Impugned Order could not be faulted on account of any
perversity in view of our decision in Jitendra Nath Mishra v.
State of Uttar Pradesh, (2023) 7 SCC 344.

6. We have heard the learned counsel(s) appearing on behalf
of the parties and perused the materials on record.

SLP (Crl.) No.8696 of 2021 Page 6 of 9

7. The principles of law governing the exercise of
jurisdiction under Section 319 of the CrPC are well established.
Notably, a constitution bench of this Court in Hardeep Singh
(Supra) observed as under:

“105. Power Under Section 319 Code of
Criminal Procedure 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 laid
before the court that such power should be
exercised and not in a casual and cavalier
manner.

106. Thus we hold that though only a prima facie
case is to be established from the evidence laid
before the court, not necessarily tested on the
anvil of cross-examination, it requires much
strong evidence that near probability of his
complicity. The 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. In the
absence of such satisfaction, the court should
refrain from exercising power Under Section
319 Code of Criminal Procedure.”

SLP (Crl.) No.8696 of 2021 Page 7 of 9

8. The aforesaid position was reiterated by this Court in
Sagar v. State of Uttar Pradesh & Anr., (2022) 6 SCC 389
wherein it was opined that:

“9. The Constitution Bench has given a caution
that power Under Section 319 of the Code 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 notice above has
to be applied is one which is more that 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….”

9. In the present case, the High Court overturned the Trial
Court Order; and accordingly impleaded the Appellants’ as
accused person(s) in the Underlying Proceedings on the
satisfaction of a prima-facie finding that the materials on record
i.e., (i) vague allegations emanating from the underlying
complaint; (ii) the Complainant’s statement under Section 161 of
the CrPC; and (iii) the Complainant’s examination-in-chief, are
sufficient to proceed against the Appellant(s).

10. In our considered view, the approach adopted by the High
Court was not in consonance with this Court’s opinion in
Hardeep Singh (Supra). The High Court failed to appreciate that
the discretionary powers under Section 319 of the CrPC ought to
have been used sparingly where circumstances of the case so

SLP (Crl.) No.8696 of 2021 Page 8 of 9
warrant. In the present case, the Trial Court Order was well
reasoned and did not suffer from any perversity. Moreover, the
materials on record could not be said to have satisfied the
threshold envisaged under Hardeep Singh (Supra) i.e., more
than a prima facie case, as exercised at the time of framing of
charge but short of evidence that if left unrebutted would lead to
conviction.

11. Consequently, this appeal stands allowed and the
Impugned Order is set aside. Pending application(s), if any, stand
disposed of.

……………………………………J.
[VIKRAM NATH]

……………………………………J.
[SATISH CHANDRA SHARMA]

NEW DELHI
FEBRUARY 16, 2024

SLP (Crl.) No.8696 of 2021 Page 9 of 9

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