Sree Moolam Popular Assembly

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The Sri Mulam Popular Assembly in the erstwhile state of Travancore was the first popularly elected legislature in the history of India.

Its predecessor legislative council was formed in Travancore in 1888 with eight appointed members. Sri Mulam Thirunal Ramavarma who became maharajah of Travancore in 1886 set up this unique institution through an order issued on March 30, 1888. In 1898, the strength of the council was increased to 15, comprising nine officials and six non-officials.

In 1904, the Sri Mulam Popular Assembly (known in the local language as Sri Mulam Praja Sabha) was formed with 88 members to provide for increased participation of the people in the administration.[1] Its membership was limited to representatives of landlords and merchants. Although not a legislature, it was intended to give the people an opportunity to bring to the notice of the government their requirements, wishes or grievances, and to make government policies and measures better known to the people. The members of the Assembly were not elected but chosen, two from each Taluk, by the District heads from among landholders who paid an annual land revenue of not less than Rs.100, and landholders or traders whose net annual income was Rs.6000 or above.

In 1905, the Sree Moolam Popular Assembly began to have elected members. Out of the new strength of 100 members, 77 were to be elected and 33 were to be nominated. Voting right was limited to persons who paid an annual land revenue of not less than Rs.50, or whose net income was not less than Rs.2000. University graduates with not less than ten years of standing, and having their residence in the respective Taluk, were also eligible to vote.

In 1907, the Assembly was conferred the right to elect members of the upper Legislative Council. The Upper Council had 15 members—nine officials and six non-officials. In 1919, the Council was remodeled raising its strength to 25, out of which eight were elected members. In October 1921, the total strength of the Council was further raised to 50, with the majority elected members.

In 1932, the Legislative Council of Travancore and Sri Mulam Popular Assembly were replaced with a formal bicameral system consisting of an Upper House, the Travancore Sri Chitra State Council, and a Lower House, the Sri Mulam Assembly. This bicameral system continued to function until September 1947 when it gave way to a constituent assembly that later led to the merger of Cochin state and the eventual joining with the Indian Union following independence.

Members[edit]

Among the Sree Moolam Popular Assembly members were:

References[edit]