nineteen thirties saw significant advances in freedom of speech and
powers of the legislature in Travancore. Freedom of speech was
guaranteed in 1940 through an amendment to earlier Regulation on Legislative Council.
The Legislative Council of Travancore and Sri Mulam Popular Assembly were replaced on October 28, 1932, with a formal bicameral system consisting of an upper House, the Travancore Sri Chitra State Council, and a lower House, Sri Mulam Assembly.
It was specified that not less than 55 per cent of the members should be elected and no more than one third should be officials. In the case of the Assembly, not less than 48 members were required to be elected. Of not more than 24 nominated members, 12 should be officials. The franchise was restricted and this invited strong protests from the Ezhavas, Christians and the Muslims who constituted 70 percent of the population.
The new bodies started functioning from January 1, 1933. They enjoyed more powers than their predecessors. The Assembly could vote on the budgetary demands for grants with powers to reduce and omit items. For the first time, a Public Accounts Committee was created making the executive increasingly accountable to the legislature.
The Dewan was the ex-officio President of both the Houses. The Assembly elected its own Deputy President. Its term was four years.
Foundation stone for a new building for the Assembly was laid on December 12, 1933 by the Viceroy Lord Wellington on the Northern side of the Secretariat. Dewan C. P. Ramaswamy Iyer opened the building on February 8, 1939 and the Second Sri Mulam Assembly (in its fourth session) met there the next day.
A decision was taken the next month to style all regulations as Acts.
The bicameral system continued to function till September 1947.
Despite progressive measures taken under public pressure including formation of the legislative bodies and effectiveness on the developmental front, the princely rule was grossly unpopular. Following intense agitations by the Travancore State Congress and an attack on Ramaswamy Iyer, the Maharaja of Travancore announced plans to establish a responsible Government "to build a new and in fuller amplitude the fabric of a great Travancore". As per the announcement on September 4, 1947, the new Assembly called the Representative Body was to function as a Constituent Assembly.
The Assembly held its first sitting on March 20, 1948 with President A. J. John in the chair. G. Chandrasekhara Pillai was the Deputy President. At the first meeting itself, the Assembly expressed the desire to be invested with powers and functions of a Legislative Assembly and to have a ministry responsible to it.
In accordance with that desire, the Maharaja promulgated the Travancore Interim Constitution Act on March 24, 1948, with provision for a Council of Ministers headed by a Prime Minister and collectively responsible to the Assembly. The Maharaja became the Constitutional Head.
A Council of Ministers with Pattom A. Thanu Pillai as Prime Minister assumed office on March 24, 1948. In October 1948, T. K. Narayana Pillai succeeded him as the Prime Minister.
|First Sri Mulam Assembly of Travancore (1933-37)
Total Members : 72
Officials : 10
Non-official seats : 62
from General Constituencies: 43
from Special Constituencies: 5
Reserved for minorities : 14
Total sessions : 9
Bills passed : 102
Second Sri Mulam Assembly (1937-1944)
Third Sri Mulam Assembly (1944-1947)
The First Travancore Sri Chitra State Council (1933-37)
Total Members : 37
Officials : 10
Non officials : 27
Elected : 22
Nominated : 5
Bills passed : 58
Second Council (1937-1944)
Third Council (1944-47)
Representative Body / Travancore Legislative Assembly (1948-49)
Members : 120
Sittings : 36
Bills passed : 20
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