Difference between Police Custody and Judicial Custody in India


When it comes to judicial custody vs police custody, people tend to confuse both of them with the similar term “custody”, but both of them are quite different from each other. 

To begin with, “custody” in general means apprehending someone for protective care. It is different from arrest, as arrest is where the personal liberty of an individual is affected, but under custody, it still remains unaffected.

The two main kinds of custody are police custody and judicial custody, and this article further differentiates between them, according to different factors.

What Is Police Custody?

Police custody comes in the case when an individual is a suspect and is kept in a police station lockup by police. The reason behind police custody is that when someone is a suspect, they are put in custody to avoid any further crime being committed by them.

When someone is under police custody the person is under the governance of Section 167 of The Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973.

What Is Judicial Custody?

Judicial custody is when the individual is under the custody of the concerned Magistrate. This happens when the Magistrate orders an accused to be sent to judicial custody and the individual is kept in jail. Under judicial custody, the accused becomes the responsibility of the Court.


Let’s take a look at the difference between the 2 custody according to different factors,


  Police Custody                         

   Judicial Custody


  Under police custody, a person is held for questioning and investigation regarding the respective crime in question.

 Under judicial custody, it is when the Court thinks the person is accused and needs to be kept in prison or jail.


 Police custody happens when someone puts a complaint or registers an FIR against the suspect.

The procedure of judicial custody begins when the public prosecutor satisfies the court that for the need of the investigation, such custody of the accused is required.


Police custody is when the suspect is detained because of some particular action committed by the suspect.

 Judicial custody is when a suspect is kept in the custody upon the order of the concerned magistrate.


 A person under legal custody has to appear before the magistrate within 24 hours of detention.

 A person is under judicial custody until the Court gives bail.

Legal Governance

 Section 167 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973. Under this section, the suspect is required to be produced before the Magistrate within 24 hours which excludes the traveling time from the place of arrest. The suspect can be kept under police custody for only 15 days that too on the orders of the Magistrate.

 Under judicial custody, the suspect can be kept under judicial custody for up to 90 days in case they have committed an offense that has a punishment of death, imprisonment of life, or a period of imprisonment that exceeds 10 years. In case the crime that is in question is anything else apart from these, then the maximum number of days an individual can be kept in judicial custody is 60 days. This depends upon if the Magistrate thinks it is fit for the interest of justice. The maximum period a suspect can be kept under this custody is half of the punishment awarded for that particular offense.

Security Provided

 Under police custody, it is the police who provide the security.

 Under judicial custody, it is the Judge/Magistrate who provides the security. 

Decision Maker

 Under police custody, the police have the authority to punish the suspect.

 Under judicial custody, the Judge/Magistrate has the right and authority to punish the accused.

Custody Place

 Under police custody, the accused is kept in the lockup for 24 hours unless they are proven innocent before the time. The person is kept in a particular police station. 

 Under judicial custody, the accused is kept in prison or jail. The person is sent to the central jail.

Right to Counsel

 Under police custody, the suspect has all the rights to seek counsel.

 As per Article 22 (1), under judicial custody, an individual has the right to legal counsel.

Legal Rights

 Under police custody, the suspect has the right to be informed of the ground during interrogation. Furthermore, they have the right to a fair trial, the right to get bail, the right to hire a criminal lawyer, right to free legal aid in India.

 Under judicial custody, it is the Judicial Magistrate and the Prison Manual that governs the routine of the conduct of the person.

Right to Bail

 Under police custody, a person can be given bail that is if the concerned offense in the matter is bailable.

 As per Section 436A of the Criminal Procedure, the accused can seek their right to bail after they have undergone half of the punishment time of the offense they are accused of.

Custody Extension

 The police custody can only be extended by 15 days as per the order of the Magistrate and then further upon 7 days.

 The judicial custody can be extended by 60 to 90 days depending upon different factors as mentioned above in legal governance.


 Under police custody, only the police can interrogate the accused.

 Under judicial custody, the police officers have no right to interrogate the accused without the permission of the Magistrate.


 Under police custody, the investigation is conducted by the police.

 Under judicial custody, the investigation is in a form where the Court relies upon the evidence that is produced in the Court.