Understanding CRPC Section 167: Safeguarding Justice through Custodial Interrogation


In the realm of criminal justice, the Code of Criminal Procedure (CRPC) plays a pivotal role in ensuring fair and just legal proceedings. Section 167 of the CRPC is a crucial provision that addresses the delicate balance between the rights of the accused and the necessity for effective law enforcement. This section pertains to the power of the police to detain individuals for investigation, emphasizing the importance of safeguarding personal liberty while upholding the interests of justice.

The Genesis of CRPC Section 167:

Enacted in 1973, the Code of Criminal Procedure aimed to consolidate and amend the laws relating to criminal procedure in India. Section 167 emerged as a response to the need for a comprehensive framework governing the process of investigation and detention. Its primary objective is to prevent arbitrary arrests and provide a legal foundation for the detention of individuals during the course of an investigation.

Provisions of CRPC Section 167:

CRPC Section 167 delineates the circumstances under which a person can be detained for a longer duration beyond the initial 24 hours of arrest. The section is divided into three sub-sections, each addressing distinct aspects of the investigation process.

Initial Detention (Section 167(1)):

Upon the arrest of an individual, the police are authorized to detain the accused for an initial period of 24 hours. This period starts from the moment of arrest and provides a window for the police to conduct the necessary inquiries. During this time, the arrested person is brought before the nearest magistrate.

Magistrate’s Power to Authorize Detention (Section 167(2)):

If the investigation cannot be completed within the initial 24 hours, the arrested person must be presented before the magistrate. The magistrate, after considering the facts and circumstances, may authorize the detention of the accused for a maximum period of 15 days in the aggregate.

Additionally, if the offense is punishable with death, imprisonment for life, or imprisonment for a term exceeding ten years, the magistrate may extend the detention to 90 days. In cases involving offenses under certain special laws, the period may be further extended to 180 days.

Importantly, the magistrate must be satisfied that the detention is necessary for the proper investigation of the case and that there are reasonable grounds for the extension.

Release on Bail (Section 167(2A)):

The amended Section 167(2A) introduced the provision for release on bail if the accused has been detained for the maximum period specified under Section 167(2). This amendment, while recognizing the need for prolonged investigation in certain cases, emphasizes the importance of protecting the individual’s right to personal liberty.

Case Law and Interpretation:

Over the years, various judicial pronouncements have contributed to the evolving interpretation of CRPC Section 167. In the case of Joginder Kumar v. State of U.P. (1994), the Supreme Court emphasized that the power of arrest is not unlimited, and it should be exercised judiciously, ensuring that the arrest is justified and not arbitrary.

The case of D.K. Basu v. State of W.B. (1997) further laid down guidelines to prevent custodial violence and ensure the rights of the arrested persons. These guidelines, commonly known as the “D.K. Basu guidelines,” have become a cornerstone in protecting the rights of individuals during arrest and detention.

Challenges and Controversies:

While CRPC Section 167 seeks to strike a balance between the needs of law enforcement and the protection of individual rights, challenges and controversies persist. One recurring issue is the potential misuse of extended detention periods, leading to concerns about the abuse of power and violation of fundamental rights.

There have been instances where the investigative process has been delayed, and individuals have been held in custody for prolonged periods without conclusive evidence. This raises questions about the efficacy of the investigative machinery and the need for reforms to ensure a timely and fair resolution of cases.


CRPC Section 167 stands as a crucial pillar in the edifice of criminal justice in India. Its provisions are designed to reconcile the imperative of effective law enforcement with the protection of individual liberties. As the legal landscape continues to evolve, it is essential for lawmakers, law enforcement agencies, and the judiciary to work in tandem to address emerging challenges and uphold the principles of justice and fairness embedded in the criminal justice system.

Author: Adeeb Akhtar ,Maharashtra National Law University, Aurangabad 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *