Difference Between Judicial Custody and Police Custody

Police custody is controlled by the police and is also a place where the first interrogation starts. The judicial custody is wherein the accused is in the custody of the magistrate.

The police custody is usually given when there is a non-bailable offense on a person and they cannot interrogate the person in custody without the permission of the magistrate.

Judicial Custody vs Police Custody

The difference between police custody and judicial custody is that the accused is kept in police custody/lock up for further inquiry or investigation whereas in the latter accused is kept in jail as per the magistrate/court decision for a duration above 15 days.

Judicial Custody vs Police Custody

 In the police custody, the police cannot keep the accused in the police lock-up for more than 15 days, unless they have special permission.

Read through criminal procedure code to get clarity on the various systems at the place. To understand the law systemic mandated internationally, ICCPR is paramount.


Comparison Table

Parameter of ComparisonPolice CustodyJudicial Custody
ControlPolice officersThe judicial authorities
InvestigationYesNo/ Partially
Duration15 daysUp to 60 days
ChargesStrong charges are putCharges can be nullified
JailPolice lock-upCentral Jail
ProcedureArrestOn trial before the judge

Custody basically implies to gain control or put a charge against a person in particular which restricts the physical movement of the accused.

As per article 21 of the Indian constitution, the police or judicial custody must be reasonable, applicable and legally viable adjust.

Custody and arrest are not the same.  Custody is plainly a remand taken while the arrest is forceful confinement. The arrest is followed by custody.


What is Police Custody?

A police officer arrests suspect and keep them in custody out of suspicious or evidence.

The accused is kept in the police remand in order to interrogate, protect the destruction of evidence or any kind of threatening done to the witnesses of the case in hand.

The custody is strictly kept for 24 hours before the accused is presented in front of the magistrate. The charge sheet has to be filed by the police as well.

There are lots of rights of people in police custody which is a must to be aware of.

Police Custody

What is Judicial Custody?

When the accused is presented in front of the magistrate, the magistrate can take the accused in their judicial custody or send back the accused to police custody for 15 days.

If the accused is sent to the police custody, police have all the rights to interrogate the accused. If the accused is sent to the judicial custody, the accused will be sent to jail away from the public scrutinizing eye.

Section 1671 (2)  is crucial to be understood.

Judicial Custody

Main Differences Between Judicial Custody and Police Custody


In police custody, the police officer at duty as complete control over taking charge, arresting a suspect or accused in their provisional area.

The police can take charge of the evidence, but the suspect or accused in the police lock-up and file a charge sheet on what all information his/her team has gathered via interrogation.

The FIR is the precursor before the arrest takes place. FIR and charge sheet are not the same.

The judicial custody works on the principals of the court laws wherein the judge/magistrate takes a call on the navigation of the case.

The suspect can be set free on no accord of misconduct found, or sent back to the police custody for 15 days or moved to the central jail for up to 60 days before the accused is presented in front of the magistrate once again.


An investigation is done by the police when the accused is in police custody.

The investigation is not the job of the magistrate. The magistrate goes by the evidence provided by the interrogation reports and the hearing in the trial court.

If there is a need for further investigation, the judicial court sends back the accused to police custody for close to two weeks duration.


First and foremost an FIR is filed against a particular person followed with an arrest, interrogation, investigation, and remand in the first 24 hours of an FIR filed.

Filing of an FIR is not always a mandate and police themselves can arrest someone based on their source’s communication or whereabouts information.

The procedure of judicial functionaries and functioning is mostly covered.


The charges put on a suspect of accused in police custody can be nullified at the judicial court if not proven guilty.


The duration to keep an accused in the police custody is from 2 hours to 15 days.

While in the judicial custody the accused is kept from a minimum of 24 hours to 60 days before being presented to the judges again.

If found guilty; the accused is moved to the judicial jail. Judicial jail is also called a central jail.


The accused is kept in the police lock-up while as per the judicial custody the accused is kept away for the public is the central jails.

Central jails are the jails in the various States of India. Read about the rights of prisoners as per Indian law to understand what the rights of prisoners are while they are serving a term.

Difference Between Judicial Custody and Police Custody


  1. https://www.kaanoon.com/54978/fir-to-charge-sheet
  2. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/10439463.1990.9964609
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