History of 125 years of Legislature in Kerala
The evolution of Kerala Legislative Assembly (more popularly known as Niyamasabha) began with the meeting of a Legislative Council, the law making body in the princely state of Travancore, on August 23, 1888 at 1200 noon.
On completing 125 years of this historical event, a year-long celebration will be inaugurated by Maharashtra Governor K Sankaranarayanan here on August 23.
Assembly Speaker G Karthikeyan today said the Legislative Council of Travancore, which was the first native legislature in Indian sub continent outside British India, had undergone many changes by years.
However, only the Karnataka Legislative Council in the country could place claim to such a long tradition of Legislative Council of Travancore, he added.
The inaugural function would be presided over by Chief Minister Oommen Chandy. Opposition leader VS Achuthanandan would deliver the keynote address. The year-long celebration includes lectures by eminent personalities, seminars on the evolution of Kerala Legislative Assembly, cultural events and exhibitions, he said.
The state of Kerala was formed in 1956 on linguistic basis, merging Travancore, Cochin and Malabar regions. The first general election in Kerala was held in February-March, 1957. The current Kerala Legislative Assembly was formed on April 5, 1957, he said.
The then Assembly had 127 members including a nominated member. Subsequently after formation of Malappuram and Kasargod districts, the number of seats went up to 140. The current delimitation committee of 2010 reaffirmed the total number of seats at 140.
The older Assembly was located within State Secretariat complex which was reconverted into Legislature museum, after commissioning new complex in 1999.
The seed for the Legislative Council was sown in Travancore during the Pre-Independence Period (1888-1947).
Dewan (Minister) T Ram Rao proposed to the Maharaja (King), the organisation of a Legislative Council so that 'the Dewan would gain the benefit of discussing with and taking the opinion of responsible officers associated with him in matters of legislation, one of the most important functions of Government.
This proposal was readily approved by Sri Mulam Thirunal Maharaja and a regulation was passed on March, 30, 1888, creating a Legislative Council, of three year tenure, and composed of 8 members of whom six were to be officials and two non-officials nominated by the Maharaja. The Dewan was to preside over the meetings.
The inaugural meeting of the Legislative Council was held at 1200 noon, on August 23, 1888 in the Dewan's room. In the First Council (1888-1891), there were 32 sittings.
Although the Bills passed were recommendatory in nature, the number came to 9. The Select Committee constituted to study and report on the Bills introduced, marked the origin of the Committee System. Being the primogenitor, this Legislative Council, though not truly democratic, was a bold step.