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Differences between Police Custody and Judicial Custody

The differences between police custody and judicial custody are given below:
  • In police custody permission of the court is not required for interrogation of the accused person. In judicial custody police cannot interrogate the accused person without permission of the court.
  • Being in police custody refers to the situation where the accused is held in the detention area of a police station or is under the supervision of an investigative agency that is looking into the particular case. On the other hand, judicial custody refers to the scenario where the accused is confined in prison and is under the supervision of a Magistrate or Judge.
  • As soon as a complaint is received or an FIR is filed, a police officer's arrest of a suspect marks the beginning of their time in police custody. The judicial custody begins after the magistrate or judge is satisfied that the custody of the accused is necessary in the interest of investigation.
  • The accused arrested by the police should be presented before the magistrate or judge within 24 hours of arrest. The accused is kept in jail custody until there is an order from the court for bail or remand in police custody or till his punishment period in a case as convict is over.
  • In police custody the security to the accused persons is provided by the police. In judicial custody the magistrate or judge provides the security through jail security personnel and sometimes through police personnel particularly while escorting the accused persons to court from jail and back.
  • There have been more allegations of inflicting torture upon the accused persons to extract confession during investigation of a case in police custody than in jail custody.
  • During police custody food to the accused person is provided by the police authorities, whereas in jail custody food for them is arranged by the jail authorities.
  • Most of the accused persons prefer judicial custody over police custody out of fear of alleged police torture.
  • The prisoners after conviction normally remain in judicial custody and not in police custody.
  • Police custody is for undertrial prisoners and judicial custody is for both undertrial prisoners and convicts.
  • In police custody the immediate custodian of the prisoner is the jail superintendent, while in police custody the immediate custodian of the prisoner is normally the officer-in-charge of the police station or investigative agency.
  • Law enforcement officers are responsible for monitoring individuals in police custody, whereas correctional officers in the prison or jail system are in charge of overseeing those in judicial custody.
  • Police custody is comparatively shorter than the judicial custody.
  • The punishment awarded to the prisoner after conviction is not undergone in police custody but in judicial custody.
  • If a prisoner dies in police custody it is called death in police custody, whereas if a prisoner dies in jail, it is called death in judicial custody.
  • The duration of detention in police custody is 24 hours and can be prolonged up to 15 days by the designated magistrate or judge. On the other hand, in judicial custody, the maximum detention period is 90 days for cases involving crimes punishable by life imprisonment, death, or imprisonment for at least ten years. For offences with a prison term of less than ten years, the detention period is limited to 60 days. In some cases, the judicial custody may be of even more than 90 days. Convicts undergo the entire period of punishment awarded to them by the court in judicial custody.
  • There is little chance of grant of bail to a prisoner in police custody in comparison to the prisoner in judicial custody.
  • People who are in the custody of the courts are entitled to certain rights and safeguards according to the law, such as the right to a just trial, the ability to receive medical treatment, and safeguarding from mistreatment. On the other hand, those who are in the custody of the police may have fewer rights in comparison to those in judicial custody.
  • The conditions experienced in police custody can vary based on the specific facility and local rules, but are typically less structured compared to those in judicial custody. Strict guidelines are imposed on judicial custody facilities for the treatment of individuals detained there.
  • The main objective of police custody is to conduct investigations, interrogate suspects, and collect evidence, whereas judicial custody is meant for the accused to await bail or trial, or to serve their sentence as determined by the court.
  • The right to legal representation may be limited for the accused persons in police custody, as they may be interrogated without the presence of a lawyer. However, in judicial custody, the accused has the right to legal representation and can receive visits from their lawyer during their stay in prison.

Written By: Md.Imran Wahab
, IPS, IGP, Provisioning, West Bengal
Email: [email protected], Ph no: 9836576565

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