Meaning of ‘ordinary residence’

Supreme Court in Kuldip Nayar and Ors. v. Union of India and Ors., (2006) 7 SCC 1, the expression “ordinary residence” as used in the Representation of People Act, 1950 fell for interpretation. This Court observed:

243. Lexicon refers to Cicutti v. Suffolk County Council (1980) 3 All ER 689 to denote that the word “ordinarily” is primarily directed not to duration but to purpose. In this sense the question is not so much where the person is to be found “ordinarily”, in the sense of usually or habitually and with some degree of continuity, but whether the quality of residence is “ordinary” and general, rather than merely for some special or limited purpose.

244. The words “ordinarily” and “resident” have been used together in other statutory provisions as well and as per Law Lexicon they have been construed as not to require that the person should be one who is always resident or carries on business in the particular place.

245. The expression coined by joining the two words has to be interpreted with reference to the point of time requisite for the purposes of the provision, in the case of Section 20 of the RP Act, 1950 it being the date on which a person seeks to be registered as an elector in a particular constituency.

246. Thus, residence is a concept that may also be transitory. Even when qualified by the word “ordinarily” the word “resident” would not result in a construction having the effect of a requirement of the person using a particular place for dwelling always or on permanent uninterrupted basis. Thus understood, even the requirement of a person being “ordinarily resident” at a particular place is incapable of ensuring nexus between him and the place in question.

20. Reference may be made to Bhagyalakshmi and Anr. v. K.N. Narayana Rao, AIR 1983 Mad 9, Aparna Banerjee v. Tapan Banerjee, AIR 1986 P&H 113, Ram Sarup v. Chimman Lal and Ors., AIR 1952 All 79, Smt. Vimla Devi v. Smt. Maya Devi and Ors., AIR 1981 Raj. 211, and In Re: Dr. Giovanni Marco Muzzu and etc. etc. AIR 1983 Bom. 242, in which the High Courts have dealt with the meaning and purport of the expressions like `ordinary resident’ and `ordinarily resides’ and taken the view that the question whether one is ordinarily residing at a given place depends so much on the intention to make that place ones ordinary abode.