The Supreme Court on Thursday reserved its verdict in the matter concerning the interpretation of Section 319 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC), which gives trial courts the power to summon persons other than the accused who appear to have committed an offence in a case. (Sukhpal Singh Khair v. Union of India).A Constitution Bench of Justices S Abdul Nazeer, BR Gavai, AS Bopanna, V Ramasubramanian and BV Nagarathna concluded hearings in the case yesterday..Section 319 of the CrPC states:"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 top court was hearing a batch of petitions connected with its May 2019 Division Bench order referring the following questions to a larger bench: Whether the trial court has the power under Section 319 of CrPC for summoning additional accused when the trial with respect to other co-accused has ended and the judgment of conviction rendered on the same date before pronouncing the summoning order? Whether the trial court has the power under Section 319 of the CrPC for summoning additional accused when the trial in respect of certain other absconding accused (whose presence is subsequently secured) is ongoing/pending, having been bifurcated from the main trial?What are the guidelines that the competent court must follow while exercising power under Section 319 CrPC?.Counsel for the petitioners argued that the power of the trial court under Section 319 stops after the judgment on conviction is pronounced. Counsel for the respondents argued that it can be invoked till a detailed order on sentencing is delivered. The ASG argued that there is no such bar on the trial court's powers in this regard as per the stage of trial. .Senior Advocate PS Patwalia with Advocates Niharika Ahluwalia and Puneet Singh Bindra appeared for the petitioners.Senior Advocate S Nagamuthu was Amicus Curiae. Additional Solicitor General SV Raju appeared for the respondent-States.