Resides in Madras Presidency

Ultimately, question of ‘residence’ in every case depends on facts. But, ‘resides’ usually means something more than a flying visit or a casual stay [Jagir Kaur v. Jaswant Singh, (1964) 2 SCR 73]. V. Prakash could least be said to be a person visiting India casually or as a transit tourist.

Term in question about ‘residing’ within ‘Madras Presidency’ would itself be treated as redundant for, geographically or demographically, there does not exist any location as of today which could be termed as ‘Madras Presidency’. Obviously, such an approach would be incorrect. Whatever area is now referable to erstwhile ‘Madras Presidency’ area would be relevant.

In process of construction, words and expressions are not viewed as fossil remains; they retain their organic character and do take meaning from all surroundings. A particular word like ‘resides’ could carry multiple different connotations with reference to time or period of its interpretation; and connotations may be different than those understood about 100 years back. Directorate of Enforcement v. Deepak Mahajan, (1994) 3 SCC 440 pointed out, words are not passive agents or mathematical symbols so as to mean same, at all times. Trial Court’s intent, in its observations, had been only this much: in view of present-day advancement, literal meaning of ‘residence’ by requiring actual physical presence every day and every moment is not correct. We have no hesitation in endorsing views and findings of Trial Court.

Hon’ble Justice Dinesh Maheshwari, V. Prakash v. M/s. P.S. Govindaswamy Naidu & Sons’ Charities, [Civil Appeal No. 3791 of 2022].