Difference Between Judicial Custody and Police Custody

Police custody is controlled by the police and is also a place where the first interrogation starts. Judicial custody is wherein the accused is in the magistrate’s custody.


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Police custody is usually given when there is a non-bailable offence on a person, and they cannot interrogate the person in custody without the magistrate’s permission.

Key Takeaways

  1. Judicial custody is the detention of a suspect by court order during the pendency of a trial or investigation. In contrast, police custody is law enforcement officials’ detention of suspects for interrogation or questioning.
  2. Judicial custody is authorized by a judge and is subject to legal procedures and safeguards, while police custody is authorized by police officers and may involve coercion or physical force.
  3. Judicial custody is usually longer than police custody and is subject to periodic review and renewal by the court.

Judicial Custody vs Police Custody

Judicial custody is the confinement of an accused person for trial or other legal processes by order of a court, it is authorized by the court. Police custody is the detention of an accused person by the police for the purpose of interrogation or investigation, it is authorized by the police.

Judicial Custody vs Police Custody

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 In 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 the criminal procedure code to clarify the various systems in 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 implies gaining control or putting 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.

Custody and arrest are not the same.  Custody is 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 suspicion or evidence.

The accused is kept in the police remand to interrogate and protect against the destruction of evidence or any threats made to the witnesses of the case in hand.

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

There are many 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 judicial custody or send the accused back to police custody for 15 days.

If the accused is sent to police custody, police have all the rights to interrogate the accused. If the accused is sent to 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 on duty as complete control over taking charge and 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 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.

Judicial custody works on the principles 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, sent back to police custody for 15 days or moved to the central jail for up to 60 days before the accused is presented again in front of the magistrate.


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 the accused back to police custody for close to two weeks duration.


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

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

The procedure of judicial functionaries and functioning is mainly 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 police custody is from 2 hours to 15 days.

While in judicial custody, the accused is kept for at least 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, per the judicial custody, the accused is kept away from the public in 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 their rights 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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