January 13, 2024 In Uncategorized


A two Judge Bench of the Supreme Court comprising of Justice Vikram Nath and Justice Rajesh Bindal passed a Judgment dated 05-01-2024 in the matter of Gurdev Singh Bhalla vs State of Punjab and Others, Criminal Appeal No. 120 of 2024 and reiterated the parameters for summoning an additional accused under Section 319 of the Code of Criminal Procedure 1973 (Cr.P.C.) (Power to proceed against other persons appearing to be guilty of offence).


i) In the present case, one, Punjab Agro Foodgrains Corporation Ltd., Bhatinda filed a Complaint dated 18-12-2012 at the Police Station, Phul, District- Bhatinda against Accused- Devraj Miglani, which was registered as FIR No. 91 of 2012 under Sections 380 IPC (Theft in dwelling house, etc) of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 (IPC), 406 IPC (Punishment for criminal breach of trust), 409 IPC (Criminal breach of trust by public, servant. or by banker, merchant or agent), 420 IPC (Cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property), 457 IPC (Lurking house-trespass or house-breaking by night in order to commit offence punishable with imprisonment) and Section 13(1)(d) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 (PC Act) read with Section 13(2) of PC Act (Criminal misconduct by a public servant), thereby, alleging that the Accused- Devraj had misappropriated paddy worth Rs. 4.18 Crores.

ii) Thereafter, the said investigation was transferred to the Vigilance Bureau, Bhatinda on 02-05-2013, wherein, Inspector-Gurdev Singh Bhalla was assigned the task of investigating the said crime.

iii) The Accused-Devraj was arrested on 31-08-2013 in FIR No.91/2012 and later, he was granted police remand on 04-09-2013 and thereafter, sent to judicial custody on 06-09-2013.

iv) As per the Accused’s son, Puneet Kumar Miglani, who was the Informant in the present case, on 06-09-2013, i.e. after his father- Accused-Devraj was arrested, the Head Constable-Kikkar Singh approached Ms. Ritu, who was the Accused’s niece, at her work place i.e. SBI, Bhatinda Branch and demanded a sum of Rs. 50,000/- based on a slip apparently written by the Accused which asked her to pay the said sum to the Head Constable.

v) When the Informant came to know about the said demand, he went to the Bank and took the slip and submitted the same along with his Complaint before the Ld. Special Judge, Bhatinda (Trial Court).

vi) The Trial Court directed the local Police to register and inquire into the said Complaint. As per the Deputy Superintendent of Police, DSP- Janak Singh, the allegations against the Head Constable-Kikkar Singh were prima facie made out and hence, FIR No. 11 of 2013 was registered on 11-09-2013 at the Police Station, Vigilance Bureau, Bhatinda under Sections 166 IPC (Public servant disobeying law, with intent to cause injury to any person), 383 IPC (Extortion) and 385 IPC (Putting person in fear of injury in order to commit extortion) and under Sections 7 of the PC Act (Offence relating to public servant being bribed) and 13(2) of the PC Act (Criminal misconduct by a public servant).

vii) During the investigation, the statements of the Informant, his wife, the Accused-Devraj and others were recorded.

viii) After completion of the investigation, the Police filed a Report under Section 173 (2) CrPC (Report of police officer on completion of investigation) on 16-01-2014 against the Head Constable-Kikkar Singh.

ix) Further, the Informant filed an Application under Section 319 CrPC before the Trial Court in Crime No. 11 of 2013 seeking summoning of the Appellant- Inspector-Gurdev Singh Bhalla and the three other police officials.

x) The Trial Court, vide Order dated 08-09-2016 passed in Crime No. 11 of 2013, rejected the said Application on the ground of lack of sanction under PC Act as well as under CrPC.

xi) On an Appeal filed against the Trial Court Order dated 08-09-2016, the High Court of Punjab and Haryana, vide Order dated 23-01-2018, remanded the matter back to the Trial Court for passing of a fresh order and observed that sanction was not required.

xii) Pursuant to such remand, the Trial Court, vide Order dated 05-03-2018 passed in Crime No. 11 of 2013, allowed the Application under Section 319 CrPC and thereby, summoned four Police officials, namely, (i) Janak Singh, Dy.S.P., (ii) Appellant- Inspector, Gurdev Sigh Bhalla, (iii) Head Constable (H.C.) Harjinder Singh and (iv) H.C. Rajwant Singh.

xiii) The Trial Court Order dated 05-03-2018 was challenged by the Appellant- Inspector before the High Court in Criminal Revision bearing CRR-1751-2018, on the ground that Trial Court did not follow the principles for summoning under Section 319 CrPC.

xiv) The High Court passed an Order dated 23-03-2023 in CRR-1751-2018 and dismissed the Criminal Revision filed by the Appellant- Inspector and thereby, upheld the Trial Court Order dated 05-03-2018 that summoned the Police officials including the Appellant- Inspector under Section 319 CrPC.

Supreme Court Observations

Aggrieved by the High Court Order dated 23-03-2023, the Appellant- Inspector filed Criminal Appeal No. 120 of 2024 before the Supreme Court. The Apex Court passed an Order dated 05-01-2024 and made the following observations:

1) That the Informant in his statement recorded under Section 161 CrPC (Examination of witnesses by police), had narrated the entire incident with respect to the conduct of the police officers immediately after his father, i.e. the Accused had surrendered before the Police on 30-08-2013 in Crime No.91/2012. The statements of the other witnesses also recorded the same version of incident as that of the Informant. In short, all the witnesses had equivocally narrated the incidents that took place in the said incident i.e. the threats, demand of huge sum of money, torture of Accused- Devraj etc.

2) Further, the Bench observed that: “According to them, the amount was being demanded for the following benefits to be extended: (i) firstly, not to physically torture Devraj; (ii) not to ask for further police remand; (iii) to help him get bail; and (iv) to give him good treatment during his custody.

3) Hence, the aforesaid statements of witnesses supported the Prosecution’s case regarding the Police Official’s demand of huge amount of money for extending all the benefits, as mentioned above.

4) Therefore, as there was sufficient evidence to summon and try the additional accused i.e. the Police Officials, the Trial Court rightly followed the parameters for summoning under Section 319 CrPC, as laid down by a Five-Judge Bench of the Supreme Court in Hardeep Singh vs State of Punjab & Ors. Criminal Appeal No. 1750 of 2008, which held that “A person not named in the FIR or a person though named in the FIR but has not been chargesheeted or a person who has been discharged can be summoned under Section 319 Cr.P.C. provided from the evidence it appears that such person can be tried along with the accused already facing trial.”


Thus, the Apex Court held that there was prima facie evidence on record to make it a triable case as against the Appellant-Inspector and as a result, the Bench dismissed the Appeal filed by the Appellant-Inspector. The Supreme Court, thereby, upheld the High Court Order dated 23-03-2023 that allowed the Trial Court Order dated 05-03-2018 which summoned the Police officials including the Appellant- Inspector under Section 319 CrPC.

Harini Daliparthy

Senior Associate

The Indian Lawyer

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