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If you’ve been following Aryan Khan’s case closely, chances are you’ve been keeping a tab on the court proceedings and it’s possible that the terms ‘custodial interrogation’, ‘judicial custody’ and ‘interim bail’ must have you scratching your head. How are these three situations different from each other. Under which does Aryan Khan get to go home? Well, here’s an explainer article that should ease your conundrum and solve your confusion.

On October 3, Shah Rukh Khan’s son Aryan Khan, his close friend Arbaaz Merchant and Munmun Dhamecha were arrested by the NCB (Narcotics Control Bureau) after a drugs’ raid on a Goa-bound cruise ship.

All the accused were produced before Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate R M Nerlikar today, October 7, at the end of their earlier custodial remand. The court then sent them into judicial custody despite the NCB seeking an extension of their custody/remand till October 11.

In simpler terms, this means that the case was initially in the hands of the NCB enforcing the NDPS act (Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substance act), who were given a time period of 24 hours to investigate the matter. They couldn’t gather much evidence in the given time, which is why there was an extension of remand on October 4. Remand is demanding the court to send/return the accused back to the custody, (here NCB) to investigate more.

When the initial remand ended, the NCB further asked for an extension on grounds of ease of investigation. However, once the accused were produced in the court, the judicial magistrate and the court got the liberty to decide whether to take up the matter or not. In this situation, the court ruled that now the accused won’t be in the hands of NCB, but with judicial custody. In case you’re wondering what that means, it implies that now the accused will be in jail and the NCB can only investigate further on the permission of the concerned magistrate, in this case, the Mumbai Court. It can also be said it is a bit less harsh than police custody.

Now, until Aryan Khan and the other accused get bail, they will be in jail. The same would have been effected today had it not been 7 pm when the hearing concluded. It was Aryan’s lawyer Satish Maneshinde who pointed out that admission to jail post 7 pm without a Covid test would be difficult. This resulted in the court agreeing to send the accused to NCB custody for the night and schedule a bail hearing tomorrow at 12:30 pm.

However, before trying to bargain for Aryan to not be sent to jail, lawyer Satish asked for an interim bail, which means the accused needs immediate bail — till the accused can secure a regular or anticipatory bail.

A bail is a plea asking the court to not put the accused in jail. During the court hearing today, Maneshinde made a strong case for bail, stating, “Khan cannot be held hostage till they find the main accused. He argued, ”Why should custody be given? No confrontation was done as far as I am concerned. No drugs, nothing in my bag, nothing on my person, I did not tamper with phone. Why would I not co-operate with the law? Apart from that, see the charges against me … Section 8 (c), 27, 28, 29”.

Maneshinde also added, “If NCB has not managed to unearth any controversy so far, then what are they going to do now? Humble submission is that they keep saying that they have to reach the ‘main accused.’ He (Aryan) cannot be held hostage till they find the main accused. Rest of the accused, I am not concerned with, so I will not make submissions about them,” concluded the lawyer.

According to the latest update, Maneshinde will apply for bail following the procedures as mentioned in Cr Pc (The Code of Criminal Procedure 1973) in the court tomorrow.

So, here’s a quick recap. ‘Custodial interrogation’ is when the NCB had the accused under their detainment/arrest for questioning. ‘Judicial custody’ is a situation where accused is sent to jail and NCB need court’s permission to investigate / question him. ‘Interim bail / bail’ is when the accused is released from the authority, allowed to go home, but have to co-operate with the authority if they need it during further investigation.

(With references and inputs from Advocate Vandana Shah, and Final Year law students)

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