Can We Write Directly To A Judge?

According to the Times of India news dated on 9th July, 2015 where it was published that the Madras High Court Judge named S. Vaidya Nathan refused to hear the case of a man named S. Chandrasekaran as the petitioner had directly written a letter to the single judge who afterwards advised the case to be heard by some other judges. Nowadays, it has become a trend of writing letters to the judges or sending them direct communications (Ex- parte communications) to the judges of the courts. These are unacceptable by the judges as it is not allowed to write direct letters to the judges of the courts. In the above case the judge further said that if these letters are directly addressed to them then some may be extricated from the proceedings and some of the judges may implement high cost even if they are agreed with the disputation of the said person. The times of India published a news in which the Secretary of the Hindu Primary School whose name was K. Athisayamary in Panagudi in Tirunelveli district discharged the Principal of the school named S Chandrasekaran and also one teacher Kasturi on 14th July 2010 and did this by the approval of the District Elementary Educational Officer. The headmaster moved to the High court of Madurai which dismissed the plaintiff’s case. Disappointed by this the Secretary of the school filed a case and when it was on pending the headmaster of the school wrote a letter regarding this to the judge. Therefore, Ex-parte communications made to the judge are not allowed but in some cases like traffic infraction they are allowed.

Ex- Parte is a Latin word which means “ON ONE SIDE ONLY”. An Ex-parte communication occurs in field of judiciary when a party to a case i.e. whether it is a plaintiff or defendant tries to write or talk directly to the judge of the court about some facts and evidences so that one could won the case easily without informing the other party to a case. According to the Judicial Code of Conduct a judge of the court never allows any party to the case for Ex-parte communications during the decision of any case. There are some exceptions in which ex-parte communication is allowed but that is very rare. A judge can only allow ex-parte communication to any party when the law allows to do so. In a practical sense ex-parte communication should not be allowed in general cases because this practice will lose the public trust from the legal and court system. Suppose A is a plaintiff & B is respondent in a case. The judge of the court allows ex-parte communication to B the respondent, then it is obvious that A will think or know that judge will be giving partial decision and A will never ever belief in the legal and court system. Not only there will be other party associated with A will also lose faith in court system. This may disturb the court decorum permanently. The judiciary system whether it is of India or other world is there for the people who deserves it or the people who is suffering cruelty from the other. The ex-parte communication has been banned so that the parties to the case ensures that the court process is fair and both the parties have the same knowledge of the case as the judge have as this is the principal of the court decorum and rules.

Suppose a party to the case that is plaintiff or defendant tries to Ex-parte communication with a judge of the case then the judge will inform the other party to the case to respond on it so that the trial/case is handled fairly. The judge may also “strike” ignore the evidence which you have given or shown during ex-parte communication.

In matters relating to domestic violence or misdemeanor a victim cannot directly write to a judge. Private proceedings will not be accepted by any court in India or any other country in the world. The offences which cannot be settled by the parties can be addressed to the court and these offences should be compoundable which is mentioned in Section 320 (1) of Criminal procedure code and section 320 (2) are referred to as compoundable offences. Hence, the parties cannot write to the judge directly in the matters involving Domestic violence the allegations of domestic violence is treated at home only and it need not to be taken to the court. The allegations which involves domestic violence matters may considered as the offences under the Indian Penal Code, 1830 (IPC) but not considered as the Domestic Violence. Since, the domestic violence matters are related to the family then they can easily be solved or settled at home by settling dispute and it’s not required to file a case in court regarding this matter. Only it has to be kept in mind that these kind of disputes are to be resolved without any force between the families. If the parties have settled their disputes then they can file a joint petition in the court of law. The simpliest way is to approach the prosecutor of the court for an alternative trial for the purpose of settling the matter but it is advised not to directly write a letter to a judge.

There are some Exceptions provided by the law in which ex-parte communication can be a citizen and the judge or court:

  1. The Prisoners in the jail may write directly to the court or judge if they are treated unlawful in the person or in jail.
  2. Victims of crime may directly write to the judge
  3. In case of settlement between the parties in the civil case the judge may allow ex-parte communication.
  4. In case of temporary restraining the judge may allow ex-parte communication.
  5. Traffic Infraction is also another situation where the person can write directly to the judge.

In the United States the Ex parte orders are mentioned in the fifth and fourteenth amendments which tells that the person should not be deprived of his interest in life and liberty. The US statute states that the parties which are not government are not allowed to argue in the court but they can do so by ex parte orders. The idea of ex parte must be used in “wrecking ball” situation and in restraining orders according to the American law. The phrase has also been used in writ of Habeas Corpus. The prisoner is allowed for ex parte communications just he has to seek an order or application explaining his detention. No order or ex parte communications shall be accepted for freeing of a prisoner until the jailer orders regarding this.

In Australia the ex parte has two meanings. The main meaning is the ex parte hearing which is heard in the absence of one or more parties. The other meaning of this word ex parte in Australian law means ‘on the application of’ it is also used in certain case laws where there is a privileged relief where it is taken place example in writ of prohibition, certiorari or mandamus. Like it’s used in the case name of Boilermaker case is R v Kirby.


This article is authored by Aparajita Balihar, student of 1st year LLB at SYMBIOSIS LAW SCHOOL PUNE.

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