How Long Can the Police Keep an Offender in Custody by Their Own Power? (CrPC, 1973, India)

Arrested person not to be detained for more than 24 hours:

When a person is arrested without a warrant, a police officer shall not detain him for a longer period than under all the circumstances of the case is reasonable and such period shall not, in the absence of a special order of Magistrate under section 167, exceed 24 hours exclusive of the time necessary for the journey from the place of arrest to the Magistrate’s court. (Section 57).

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To the same effect are the provisions of Article 22 (2) of the Constitution. It provides that every person arrested and detained in custody shall be produced before the nearest Magistrate within a period of 24 hours of such arrest excluding the time necessary for the journey from the place of arrest to the court of the Magistrate and no such person shall be detained in custody beyond the said period without the authority of a Magistrate. This provision is, however, not applicable to an alien enemy and any person detained under the law providing for preventive detention.

Procedure when investigation cannot be completed in 24 hours:

Section 167 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, however, provides that where investigation of an offence cannot be completed within 24 hours, the police officer making the investigation may obtain permission to detain the accused for a term not exceeding 15 days in the whole on transmitting to the nearest judicial Magistrate a copy of the entries in the diary relating to the case and at the same time forwarding the accused to such Magistrate. This section relates to cases which are still under investigation by the police.


Section 42 authorizes a police officer to arrest a person who has committed a non-cognizable offence in his presence and refuses to give his name and residence or gives a false name or residence. When the true name and residence are ascertained, he shall be released on his executing a bond to appear before a Magistrate.

Should the true name and residence of such person be not ascertained within 24 hours from the time of arrest or should he fail to execute the bond he shall forthwith be forwarded to the nearest judicial Magistrate having jurisdiction.


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