Sree Moolam Popular Assembly

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Sree Moolam Popular Assembly of Travancore was the first popularly elected legislature in the history of India.

Its predecessor legislative council was formed in Travancore in 1888 with 8 appointed members. Sree Moolam Thirunal Ramavarma who became king 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, nine officials and six non-officials.

In 1904, the Sree Moolam Popular Assembly (known in local language as Sree Moolam 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 the policy and measures of the Government 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.

It was in 1905, that 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, 9 officials and 6 non-officials. In 1919, the Council was remodeled raising its strength to 25, out of which 8 were elected members.In October 1921, the total strength of the Council was further raised to 50, with a majority of 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 till September 1947, until it gave way to a constituent assembly that later led to the merger of Cochin state and the eventual joining into the Indian Union.

Members of Sree Moolam Popular Assembly[edit]

The following were some of the members of the Sree Moolam Popular Assembly:

Ayyankali

• Oommummen Chandapillai Kathanar Pampooreth

(List is not complete)