What is Custody?
When a person is detained by an authority or another individual that holds legal power to do so, that is directly violative of his fundamental rights under article 21 of the constitution that ensures the right to liberty and freedom of movement.
Although several misunderstand that the concepts of custody and arrest are two separate instances. Arrest however is not synonymous with custody but let’s first understand the two different types of custody:
- Police Custody
- Judicial Custody
What is Police Custody?
When a person is detained by the police and held in a cell or a lockup at a police station, he is said to be taken into police custody. According to the law, as stated in Section 167 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, any person arrested by the police needs to be presented before the Magistrate Court within twenty-four hours of the arrest, excluding travel time from the place of the arrest to the magistrate court.
The same section of the Code of Criminal Procedure also states that the court may grant extended police custody of a maximum of fifteen days for further investigation. In some very rare exceptional cases, it can be extended for up to thirty days.
What is Judicial Custody?
Judicial Custody, as the name suggests is the custody of an individual lies with the respected magistrates or courts. As opposed to the holding of a person in a police lockup, a person is put in jail under judicial custody.
This form of custody can extend up to fourteen days which can also be extended to up to ninety days. If a police report has not been filed within sixty to ninety days then the said arrested person will be released on default bail, if however the report has been filed the person will continue to remain in jail as the investigation will have been said to have moved to a further stage.
What is the difference between Police Custody and Judicial Custody?
- The purposes of the two custody i.e., police custody and judicial custody remain different. While the former is acted upon when a complaint is lodged against a person and held in a lockup, the latter aims to keep an alleged or suspected person under close surveillance of law enforcement personnel.
- The person when detained under police custody needs to as mandated by law, be produced in front of a magistrate within twenty-four hours of the arrest. While in judicial custody the arrested individual is to stay in jail until bail has been granted by the court for their release.
Although a lot of differentiating points may not explain the difference between judicial custody and police custody, the concept is that the names of each describe the concepts to a great extent. Law enforcement officers are on a time crunch when it comes to police custody, as the arrested individual needs to be produced before court within twenty-four hours, some judges while hearing bail applications go to the extent of checking the time of sunrise to make sure when the specific twenty-four hours would end, which is not the case for judicial custody. The difference lies in the separate powers of our law, one with the magistrates and the other with the police.