‘Prior notice’ is a necessity before impleading a person as an additional accused under S. 319 CrPC

Karnataka High Court: While deciding a criminal petition filed under Section 482 CrPC, a Single Judge Bench comprising of K.N. Phaneendra, J. held that the order passed by the trial court whereby it allowed the petitioners to be impleaded as additional accused, was not sustainable.

The petitioners challenged the above mentioned order on the grounds that they were not given an opportunity to be heard before passing of the impugned order whereby they were impleaded as additional accused on the ground that prosecution showed that the petitioners were involved in the alleged offence.

The High Court perused the record and came to the conclusion that no notice was issued by the trial court on the application filed under Section 319 CrPC and no opportunity was provided to the petitioners to be heard before considering the said application, which was a legal requirement.

The High Court held it to be a dictum of the Court that before considering an application under Section 319 CrPC, a criminal court must issue prior notice to the person before ordering him to be impleaded as an additional accused in any criminal case; without which such order shall be unsustainable. It was further held that the Court had to take extra caution to satisfy itself that strong evidence exist against any person before summoning him as an accused. Accordingly, the Court held that since the trial court failed to follow the above dictum, the impugned order was unsustainable and was thereby quashed. [M. Basappa v. State, Crl. Petition No. 380 of 2017, order dated 4.12.2017]

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