KERALA LEGISLATURE - A SKETCH OF EVOLUTION
A glimpse into the evolution of the Legislative Assembly of Kerala indicates different phases of development, matching the social, political and economic changes over the years. The evolutionary cycle ranges from the parallel but heterogeneous courses of development in the erstwhile Princely States of Travancore and Cochin and British Malabar, to the uniform progress in the integrated State of Kerala.
The Princely States of Travancore and Cochin were unified and the Part B State of Travancore-Cochin was formed on July 1, 1949. The State of Travancore Cochin and the Malabar district of the State of Madras, excluding certain areas constituted the State of Kerala as per the States reorganization on 1st November 1956.
The transition of a small advisory Council to the constitutionally sanctioned law making body of Kerala, through manifestations of structural and functional transformation, spreading across different phases, which could be classified chronologically on the basis of apparently similar socio-political configuration of the respective periods, as:
(3) Since 1956
Pre-independence Period (1888-1947)
The starting point of the formation of a legislative body in Travancore, can be traced to January 1888 when the Dewan T. Rama Rao proposed to the Maharaja, 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 30th March, 1888, creating a Legislative Council, of three year tenure, and composed of 8 members of whom 6 were to be officials and 2 non-officials nominated by the Maharaja. The Dewan was to preside over the meetings.
The inaugural meeting of the Legislative Council was held at 12.00 noon, on the 23rd of August, 1888 (Thursday), 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.
Political awareness and movements for social equality unleashed a popular agitation, which lead to the signing of the 'Malayali Memorial' in 1891, for increased representation. The Second Council (1891-1894) had 27 sittings, whereas the Third Council (1894-1897) in which 11 bills were passed, had 22 sittings .
By a Resolution passed in 1898, the strength of the Council was raised to 15, 9 officials and 6 non-officials. There were clear provisions regarding the nature of business of the Council. The Fourth Council (1897-1901), held 18 sittings and passed 15 bills. In the Fifth Council (1901-1904), the number of sittings was 16.
In order to widen the opportunities for increased association of the people with administration, on the 1st of October 1904, one more representative body, namely the Sri Mulam Popular Assembly of Travancore was formed. This Assembly "of the representatives of the landholders and merchants", aimed at giving "the people an opportunity of bringing to the notice of Government their requirements, wishes or grievances on the one hand, and on the other, to make the policy and measures of Government better known to the people so that all possible grounds of misconception may be removed". The Members were to be selected by the Division Peishcars (the District Heads). Two representatives were to be chosen for each taluk, from among the landholders who pay on their own account an annual land revenue of not less than Rs. 100, and landholders or traders whose net annual income was Rs. 6000 or above. On October 22, 1904, the Victoria Jubilee Town Hall of Trivandrum became the venue of the first Meeting of the Sri Mulam Popular Assembly.
A novel mark appeared on May 1, 1905, when a regulation was issued to grant to the people the privilege of electing members to the Assembly. Of the 100 members, 77 were to be elected and 23 nominated, for a tenure of 1 year. The right to vote was given to persons who paid on their account an annual land revenue of not less than Rs. 50 or whose net income was not less than Rs. 2000 and to Graduates of a recognized University, with not less than 10 years standing and having their residence in the taluk. There were General as well as Special Constituencies.
The Sri Mulam Popular Assembly turned out to be a platform to give vent to popular feelings on matters of administration. Each member could bring forward 2 subjects for representation. The representations centered around enhancement of the strength, powers and functions of the Legislative Council and bestowal of the right to members of the Assembly to elect a fair proportion of non-officials to the Council.
In 1907, the Assembly was conferred the right to select 4 members to the Legislative Council. The year also saw the formation of a legislative committee to look into the system of inheritance and Marumakkathayam. The Sixth to the Eleventh Councils were held during the period from 1904 to 1919.
In 1919, a major structural shift occurred by a regulation aimed at broad basing the administration and the powers of the Council. The strength of the Legislative Council was raised to a maximum of 25, with a bare official majority. Provision was made for election to 8 out of the 11 non-official seats. Besides, the members were given the rights to discuss the annual budget and to ask interpellations.
Further changes appeared in October 1921, when the strength of the Council was fixed as 50, with 28 elected and 22 nominated elements. Among the nominated members, 7 were to be non-officials. Provision was made for the appointment of a Deputy President, not necessarily an officer, to preside over in the absence of the President. Subject to certain limitations, the Members were given the right to vote on the Budget, to move resolutions on matters of public interest, to ask supplementary questions and to bring adjournment motions.
In the 4 Councils (1922-25, 1925-28, 1928-31 and 1931-33), 27 bills were passed. In 1922, 4 Committees were formed for the consideration of the draft-revised rules for the Assembly, assessment of the working of the Government Press, and, consideration of rules governing educational scholarships and the question of accommodation in His Highness the Maharajas College of Trivandrum. A Standing Finance Committee was constituted on 12th January 1923. In April 1923, another Committee was constituted to consider the question of establishing a University of Travancore and to examine the working of PWD Workshops.
A parallel development emerged in Cochin, where the Cochin Legislative Council Regulation Act, 1923 provided for a Legislative Council. The First Council (1925-28), with 45 members (30 elected and 15 nominated), was constituted in April 1925, under the President ship of Sri. T. S. Narayana Aiyar. The franchise was based on property and allied qualifications. There were General and Special Constituencies. The Council was allowed to introduce Bills, ask questions, move resolutions and discuss and vote on Budget Demands. In 1926, 2 Select Committees were formed. The First Council passed 8 Bills and the Second Council (1928-31), 20 Bills.
Malabar, which was a district of Madras Province under the British rule, had representatives in Madras Legislative Assembly from 1920's.
In Travancore, freedom of speech was guaranteed in 1930 by an Amendment to the earlier Regulation. On October 28, 1932, a momentous structural addition was made by the Travancore Legislative Regulation. Bicameralism took a new shape, with the creation of a Lower House, the Sri Mulam Assembly, and an Upper House, the Sri Chitra State Council. The earlier bodies were abolished. In the new Assembly, there were to be 72 members, of whom 62 were to be non-officials. Of the 72 members, 43 were elected by General Constituencies and 5 were from Special Constituencies. 14 seats were reserved for minority communities. The Sri Chitra State Council had 37 members, of whom 27 were non-officials (16 from General Constituencies, 6 from Special Constituencies and 5 nominated). This bicameral setup was established on January 1, 1933. The First Assembly (1933-37) had 9 sessions and passed 102 bills; the First Council passed 58 bills.
Power was given to the Assembly to vote on the Demands for Grants and to reduce or omit any item of the demand. In 1932, a Joint Committee of both the chambers was created. The year witnessed the constitution of the Public Accounts Committee, heralding a tradition of executive accountability.
Functionally, the enactments made right from the beginning, ranged from the Jenmy Kudiyan Act of 1896 relating to tenancy rights of agricultural lands to the Factories Act, 1914 and the Trade Union Act, 1937, all of which had weighty impact in the socio-economic scenario.
On 12th December 1933, the Viceroy Lord Wellington laid the foundation stone for a new Assembly building at the Northern side of the Secretariat. The new building was opened by Sir. C. P. Ramaswamy Aiyar, on 8th February, 1939. On the very next day, (9th February, 1939), the Second Sri Mulam Assembly (1937-44), in its 4th Session met in the new Chamber. A Proclamation dated 18th March 1939, stated that all regulations till then and future enactments were to be styled as Acts.
In Cochin, the number of Members of the Council was increased to 54 (36 elected and 18 nominated). Four Advisory Committees were constituted in 1935. In 1938, under the Government of Cochin Act, diarchy was introduced. A Member of Legislature was appointed as Minister to administer certain transferred subjects. The total number of Councils from 1925 to 1948 was 6.
In the years from 1930 to 1936, Malabar sent 5 Members to Madras Legislature. Almost all the Congress candidates were elected in the provincial elections in Malabar, in 1936. Sri. Kongattil Raman Menon was a minister in the C. Rajagopalachary ministry (1937-39).
Going back to Travancore, the 3rd Assembly and Council were held from 1944 to 1947 in 4 sessions each. Bicameral set up continued in Cochin till September 4, 1947. The number of Ministers was increased to 4 in 1946. In 1946, the Public Accounts Committee was founded in Cochin Legislature. The enactments in Cochin and Madras too were reformative.
RESPONSIBLE GOVERNMENTS (1947-1956)
The waves created by the birth of independent India had stirring repercussions in native States. On September 4, 1947, the Maharaja of Travancore announced the move to establish a responsible Government. A new Assembly, called the Representative Body was to function as the Constituent Assembly. 120 members were elected on the basis of adult franchise. The Assembly (1948-49) held its first sitting on March 20, 1948 under the President ship of Shri A.J. John.Sri. G. Chandrasekhara Pillai was the Deputy President. Altogether, there were 36 sittings, in which 20 bills were passed. Considering the desire of the Assembly to be granted the powers and functions of a Legislative Assembly and to have a Ministry responsible to it, the Travancore Interim Constitution Act was promulgated on March 24, 1948, providing for a Council of Ministers headed by a Prime Minister and responsible to the Assembly. The Maharaja was to be the Constitutional Head.
A Council of Ministers, under the Prime Minister ship of Sri. Pattom A Thanu Pillai began to serve from March 24, 1948. In October 1948, Sri. T. K. Narayana Pillai succeeded as the Prime Minister. Among the legislative enactments of the period, the ESI Act, 1948 deserves special mention. In the same year, the Committee on Petitions was constituted.
The Responsible Government in Cochin took form on August 14, 1947. The first Prime Minister Sri. Panampilly Govinda Menon served from September 1, 1947 to October 22, 1947. His successor, Sri. T. K. Nair, had a tenure of office from October 27, 1947 to September 20, 1948. Adult franchise was introduced in 1948. The Legislative Council was renamed as Legislative Assembly. It (1948-49) had 58 members and held 19 Sittings in which 29 bills were passed. After the General Elections in 1948, a popular Ministry headed by Sri. Ikkanda Warrier came to power, on September 20, 1948. A House Committee was constituted in 1948.
In the First Legislative Assembly of Madras (1937-46), created under the 1935 Act, there were 16 members from Malabar. The Second Assembly (1946-51) had 20 members.
The merger of Travancore and Cochin was realized on July 1, 1949. The Maharaja of Travancore became the Rajapramukh of the new Travancore-Cochin State. The First Legislative Assembly (1949-51) was composed of 178 members of the Legislative bodies of Travancore and Cochin. Sri. T.K.Narayana Pillai, the Chief Minister of Travancore became the Chief Minister of the new State.The Ministry headed by Shri.T.K.Narayana Pillai resigned on March 1,1951 and a Ministry headed by Shri C.Kesavan came to power on 3rd March 1951 which continued till 12th March 1952.The Speaker was Sri. T.M. Varghese. In 7 sessions, 71 bills were passed. In 1949, in the place of Standing Finance Committees, the Estimates Committee was constituted. The Committee on Privileges came into being in 1950.
After the General Elections, on December 1951 the Assembly was constituted w.e.f21st February 1952 having a strength of 109 members.Shri.K.P.Neelakanta Pillai was elected as the Speaker on 24th March 1952.
The Congress Ministry under Sri. A.J.John assumed office on March 12, 1952 and was voted out on September 23, 1953. The Assembly held 5 sessions and passed 28 bills. It was dissolved on September 23, 1953. The Employees Provident Fund Act of 1952 was an important functional output. In the years 1952 and 1953, the Library Advisory Committee and the Rules Committee were formed.
The 1st General Elections to the Madras Legislative Assembly, held in 1951, after the adoption of the Constitution of India, brought in 29 members from Malabar region to the Madras Legislative Assembly.
In the Travancore-Cochin State, elections were held in January 1954 to the 118 member Assembly.Shri.V.Gangadharan was elected as the Speaker on 22nd March 1954. Sri. Pattom A Thanu Pillai, of the Praja Socialist Party, formed a Ministry with the support of the Congress. This Ministry, which fell in 1955, was succeeded by the Ministry of Sri.Panampilly Govinda Menon, who had to end the term on March 23, 1956, due to the resignation of 6 members. On the advice of the Rajapramukh, President's rule was imposed in the State for the first time and the Assembly was dissolved. This third Assembly held 6 sessions and passed 39 bills. In 1954, 3 Committees-namely, the Committee on Private Members Bills and Resolutions, the Committee on Subordinate Legislation and the Committee on Government Assurances, were constituted.
This phase in the evolutionary cycle has been remarkable for far reaching legislative reforms. The long and arduous journey begun years back, had been moving in the right direction, reflecting the will of the people and establishing the supremacy of the legislature.
THE STATE LEGISLATURE (Since 1956)
An integrated State of Kerala emerged from the fusion on linguistic grounds, demolishing the walls of provincial separations. After the First General Elections held in February-March 1957, the First in the series of the Legislative Assemblies of Kerala commenced on March 1, 1957.The strength of the house was 127 including the lone nominated member. The Speaker of the First Kerala Legislative Assembly was Sri. Sankaranarayanan Thampi and the Deputy Speaker was Smt. K.O.Aysha Bai. On April 5, 1957, the first Communist Ministry, with Sri. E.M.Sankaran Namboodirippad as the Chief Minister assumed office. This Ministry was dismissed on July 31, 1959, after a series of struggles by the Opposition parties. The Assembly was dissolved on July 31, 1959. This Assembly had 7 sessions and 175 sittings. The major Legislative outputs include the Kerala University Bill, 1957, The Kerala Education Bill, 1957, The Kerala Agrarian Relations Bill, 1957 etc., adding upto a total of 88 passed bills. In 1957, the Business Advisory Committee was formed.
The Second Kerala Legislative Assembly, which commenced on February 22, 1960, had Sri.K.M.Seethi Sahib as the Speaker and Smt. A. Nabisath Beevi as the Deputy Speaker. On the demise of Sri. Seethi Sahib, Sri. C.H.Muhammed Koya became the Speaker on June 9, 1961. After his resignation on November 10, 1961, Sri. Alexander Parambithara assumed office on December 13, 1961. A Ministry with Sri. Pattom A Thanu Pillai as the Chief Minister was formed, giving rise to the first coalition experiment in the State of Kerala, consisting of the Praja Socialist Party, the Congress and the Muslim League. Sri. Pattom Thanu Pillai was appointed as the Governor of Punjab. On September 26, 1962, the Congress Legislative Party leader Sri.R.Sankar became the Chief Minister. A no- confidence motion against the Government was carried in September 1964. The State came under the President's rule and the Assembly was dissolved. This Assembly had 12 sessions and 300 sittings, in which 159 bills were passed, of which the Kerala Panchayat Bill, the Kerala Police Bill, the Kerala Land Improvement and Agricultural Loans Bill and the Kerala Public Servants (inquiries) Bill, 1960 deserve mention.
In the Elections held in 1965, no party had majority. The President's Rule was extended till March 1967.
On 3rd March 1967, the Third Legislative Assembly was constituted after the General Elections in March 1967.There were 134 members in the House out of which one was nominated. Sri. Damodaran Potty was the Speaker and Sri. M.P.Mohammed Jaffer Khan, the Deputy Speaker. The Ministry headed by Sri. E.M.Sankaran Namboodirippad took charge on March 6, 1967. After the resignation of the Ministry on November 1, 1969, a realignment took place, with Sri. C. Achutha Menon as the Chief Minister. The Assembly was dissolved for a fresh mandate on June 26, 1970. The President's rule was imposed. In this Assembly, there were 7 sessions and 211 sittings. 102 bills were passed, among which the Co-operative Societies Bill, 1967, the Kerala Land Reforms (Amendment) Bill, 1968, and the Calicut University Bill, 1968 had special significance. The Committee on Public Undertakings started functioning in 1968. The Assembly held a special meeting in October 1969, to commemorate Gandhi Centinery.
The Fourth Kerala Legislative Assembly was constituted on October 4, 1970. Sri. K. Moideenkutty Haji was the Speaker and Sri. R.S.Unni, the Deputy Speaker. The Ministry was headed by Sri. C.Achutha Menon. On the resignation of the Speaker on May 8, 1975, the Deputy Speaker performed the duties till February 17, 1976, when Sri. T.S.John became the Speaker. The life of this Assembly was extended in 3 stages, till March 21,1977. Thus, it had a lifespan of 6 years, 5 months and 18 days, in 16 sessions and 322 sittings. The Kerala Children Bill and the Kerala State Rural Development Board Bill of 1971, the Kerala Agricultural Workers Bill, 1972, The Joint Hindu Family System (Abolition) Bill, 1973 and the Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Bill, 1975 were among the 226 bills passed. In 1972, the Committee on the Welfare of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes was constituted. On the night of August 14, 1972, the Assembly met for the 25th Anniversary of Indian Independence.
The next in the series was the Fifth Kerala Legislative Assembly, which commenced on March 22, 1977. Since then the strength of the House continued to be 141 including one nominated member. Sri. Chakkeeri Ahammed Kutty was the Speaker and Sri. P.K.Gopalakrishnan the Deputy Speaker. The United Front Government assumed office on March 25, 1977, with Sri.K.Karunakaran as the Chief Minister. On his resignation on April 25, 1977, Sri. A.K.Antony became the Chief Minister. He resigned on October 27, 1978 and Sri.P.K.Vasudevan Nair became the Chief Minister. On October 12, 1979, Sri. C.H.Muhammed Koya became the successor, but resigned on December 1, 1979. President's rule was imposed and the Assembly was dissolved. Totally, there were 6 sessions and 143 sittings. 87 bills were passed. The major ones include the Kerala Headload Workers Bill, 1977, the Kerala Debt Relief Bill, 1977 and the Kerala District Administration Bill, 1978. An all party Committee was appointed by the Speaker in March 1979 to give suggestions regarding the Subject Committees to be formed. As per its recommendation the unique system of Subject Committees was introduced for the first time in India.
The sub-committee appointed to report on the proposal for construction of the new legislature complex submitted its Report which was approved by the Cabinet vide G.O. dated 19-9-1978. The foundation stone of the Legislature Complex was laid by Sri. Neelam Sanjeeva Reddy, the President of India on June 4, 1979.
The Sixth Kerala Legislative Assembly commenced on January 25, 1980. Sri. A.P.Kurien and Sri. M.J.Zakaria were the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker respectively. The LDF ministry under Sri. E.K.Nayanar assumed office on 25-1-1980. This Ministry resigned on October 20, 1981. President's rule was imposed and the Legislative Assembly was put under suspended animation. On December 28, 1981 a Ministry was formed with Sri.K.Karunakaran as the Chief Minister. The Speaker, Sri. A.P.Kurien resigned on February 1, 1982, due to loss of majority and was succeeded by Shri. A.C.Jose .The Ministry resigned on March 17, 1982. Again came the President's rule. It had 7 sessions and 112 sittings. 47 bills were passed, among which stand the Kerala Advocates Welfare Fund Bill, 1980, the Kerala Marine Fishing Regulation Bill, 1980 and the Kerala Fishermen Welfare Societies Bill,1980.
The Seventh Kerala Legislative Assembly opened session on May 24, 1982. With Sri.K.Karunakaran as the Chief Minister, the UDF Government assumed office. The Speaker, Sri. Vakkom B Purushothaman, when elected to the Lok Sabha in 1984, was succeeded by Sri. V.M.Sudheeran in March 1985. The successive Deputy Speakers were Sri.K.M.Hamsakunju and Sri. Korambayil Ahmed Haji. The Assembly lasted till March 25, 1987, completing the full term. It had 14 sessions and 249 sittings. 79 bills were passed. The Kerala Public Men (Prevention of Corruption) Bill, 1983, the Gandhiji University Bill, 1984 etc. fall in this group. The Silver Jubilee of the Legislative Assembly was celebrated in 1982. The Administrative Block of the Legislature Complex was inaugurated by Sri. Balaram Jhakhar, Speaker of the Lok Sabha on May 21, 1985. The work of the Assembly building was formally commenced when Shri V.M. Sudheeran, the Speaker, broke the clod of earth on 11th August 1986.
On March 25, 1987, the Eighth Kerala Legislative Assembly was constituted. Shri Varkala Radhakrishnan served as the Speaker and Smt Bhargavi Thankappan as the Deputy Speaker. The L.D.F. Ministry under Shri E.K. Nayanar assumed office. The Centenary Celebration of the Legislative Bodies was inaugurated on August 23, 1988 by the then Vice President Dr. Sankar Dayal Sharma. Shri Neelam Sanjeeva Reddy was The Chief Guest in the Valedictory function held on August 22, 1989. The Assembly lasted till April 5, 1991, through 11 sessions and 282 Sittings. Among the 112 bills passed, the welfare oriented ones like the Kerala Coir Workers Welfare Fund Bill, 1987, The Kerala Khadi Workers Welfare Fund Bill, 1988, The Kerala Handloom Workers Welfare Fund Bill, 1988 and the Kerala Construction Workers Welfare Fund Bill,1989, and the Kerala Public Libraries Bill, 1989 needs special mention. On August 13, 1987, the 40th Anniversary of Indian Independence was celebrated in a special meeting of the Assembly.
Beginning from June 29, 1991, the Ninth Kerala Legislative Assembly had Shri K. Karunakaran as the Chief Minister and Shri P.P. Thankachan as the Speaker from 1991 to 1995. From 1995, Shri A.K. Antony and Shri Therambil Ramakrishnan were the respective successors. The Deputy Speaker was Shri K. Narayana Kurup. On January 1, 1992, the Accident Insurance Scheme for Members was begun. On November 3, 1993, the Banquet Hall and the 6 Committee Rooms in the Legislature Complex were inaugurated by Shri P.P. Thankachan. The Orientation Programme for the Members began on November 12, 1992. The Assembly lasted till March 19, 1996. There were 15 sessions and 264 sittings. The Kerala Infrastructure Development Bill, 1993, the Kerala Panchayat Raj Bill and the Kerala Municipalities Bill, 1994, the Sree Sankaracharya University of Sanskrit Bill, 1994 etc. were some among the 83 bills passed. It may be noted that on April 24, 1994 Shri Cyriac Joseph, Additional Advocate General was invited to the House to give clarifications on certain points raised by Members during the discussion on the Panchayat Raj Bill. This Assembly saw the formation of the Committee on the Welfare of the Women and Children and the Committee on Environment in 1992, the Committee on the Welfare of Backward Class Communities in 1993 and the Committee on Papers Laid on the Table in 1995. The Governor's Speech and the Budget speech were recorded and telecast, for the first time, in 1995.
The Tenth Kerala Legislative Assembly was constituted on May 14, 1996. Shri E.K. Nayanar and the Council of Ministers from the L.D.F. formed the Ministry on May 20, 1996. On 30th May 1996 Shri M. Vijayakumar was elected as Speaker. He occupied the chair till 4 €”6 €”2001, the only Speaker who had completed the full term in Kerala Legislative Assembly. Shri C.A. Kurian was elected as Deputy Speaker on July 17, 1996.
On April 27, 1997 the Assembly celebrated its 40th Anniversary the focus of which was the honour conferred on the living Members of the First Kerala Legislative Assembly. The day of September 18, 1997 has become memorable by the address given by the President of India Shri K.R. Narayanan, to the Kerala Legislative Assembly, the first of its kind in India.
From a small council held in Diwan's Room, the structural growth of the Legislature reached its pinnacle on 22nd May 1998, when the President Shri K.R. Narayanan inaugurated the new Assembly Building. The last meeting of the Assembly in the old Assembly Chamber in the Secretariat campus was held on June 29, 1998. On June 30th the Assembly met in the new chamber in the Legislature Complex inheriting the tradition from the glorious past. On February 24, 2001 the old Assembly Building was declared as a historical monument and was dedicated to the nation by the Vice President of India, Shri Kishan Kant.
In Ju ly 1999, the Committee of Privileges was renamed as Committee of Privileges and Ethics and Committee on the Welfare of Women and Children as Committee on the Welfare of Women Children and Physically Handicapped. The Tenth Kerala Legislative Assembly was dissolved on May 16, 2001. It held 16 Sessions with 268 days €™ of Sittings. 104 Bills were passed. The Malabar University Bill, 1996, The Kerala Board of Revenue Abolition Bill, 1996, The Pre-degree Course Abolition Bill, 1997, The Kerala Prohibition of Ragging Bill, 1998, The Kerala Lok Ayukta Bill, 1999, The Kerala Sports Bill, 1999 are some of the landmark legislations passed by the Tenth Kerala Legislative Assembly.
In the election held on May 10, 2001 the United Democratic Front consisting of Indian National Congress, Muslim League, Kerala Congress (M),R.S.P.(Bolshevik), Kerala Congress(Jacob), Kerala Congress(B), and J.S.S secured 99 seats in the Assembly. The electronic voting machine was used in 140 constituencies for the first time. The Ministry headed by Shri.E.K.Nayanar resigned on May 13,2001 and the Tenth Kerala Legislative Assembly was dissolved on May 16,2001.
The Eleventh Kerala Legislative Assembly was constituted on May 16,2001 and an eight member coalition ministry headed by Shri A.K.Antony was sworn in on May 17,2001. The Ministry was expanded on May 26,2001 with the induction of twelve more Ministers. Shri Vakkom Purushothaman was elected as the Speaker on June 6,2001 and Shri N.Sundaran Nadar as Deputy Speaker on July 4,2001.
On March 10,2003, Shri K.B.Ganesh Kumar, Minister for Transport resigned, and Shri R.Balakrishna Pillai was inducted to the Ministry on the same day.
In the same year on June 27, two new Legislature Committees viz Committee on Official Language and Committee on Local Fund Accounts were constituted.
Shri Mammen Mathai MLA expired on September 23, 2003 and his wife Smt. Elizabeth Mammen Mathai got elected in the by election held on December1, 2003.
The Ministry was expanded on February 11, 2004 with the induction of Shri K.Muralidharan, who was not a Member, as Minister. The portfolios of the Ministers were also reshuffled.
Shri.V.Balaram resigned his membership in the Assembly on February 20, 2004. In the by election held on May 10, 2004 Shri K. Muralidharan lost the Wadakkenchery seat to Shri A.C.Moideen who took oath on May 28, 2004. Consequent on the defeat, Shri K.Muralidharan resigned his ministership on May 15, 2004.
On August 29, 2004 Chief Minister Shri A.K.Antony submitted the resignation of his Ministry. Subsequently a new five member Ministry was formed with Shri Oommen Chandy as the Chief Minister on August 31, 2004. On September 5, 2004 the Ministry was expanded with the induction of fifteen more Ministers. Shri Vakkom Purushothaman who had resigned Speakership on September 4, 2004 became Finance Minister in the new Ministry. Shri Therambil Ramakrishnan got elected as the new Speaker on September 16, 2004.
On January 4th, 2005 Shri P.K.Kunhalikutty, the Minister for Industries resigned and Shri V.K.Ebrahim Kunju assumed office on January 6,2005. On April 17, 2005 Shri T.K.Balan, MLA expired and Shri M. Prakashan Master got elected in the by election held on June 2, 2005.
Shri. P.Jayarajan also got re-elected in that by-election when his election was declared void by the Supreme Court on January 11,2005.
Shri A.K.Antony resigned his membership in the Assembly on June 8, 2005 consequent on his election to the Rajya Sabha.
Nine Members belonging to the Indian National Congress resigned their seats in the Assembly with effect from July 5, 2005.
On August 11, 2005 Shri V.C Kabeer resigned his membership in the Assembly.
Shri A. Sujanapal assumed office as Minister on January 4, 2006.
Dr.A. Neelalohita Dasan Nadar resigned his membership in the Assembly on April 3, 2006.
The total number of twelve vacancies, which thus arose, remained unfilled.
The election to the Twelfth Kerala Legislative Assembly was held on April 22, 29 and May 3, 2006. In the election, the Left Democratic Front secured a thumping majority. The Eleventh Kerala Legislative Assembly dissolved on May 12, 2006. The Ministry headed by Shri Oommen Chandy resigned on that date. The resignation was accepted by the Governor and was asked to continue till alternate arrangements were made.
The Eleventh Kerala Legislative Assembly met for 257 days and passed 165 Bills.
The Assembly also witnessed some special events during this period. Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, The President of India addressed the House on July 28,2005. The statues of Mahatma Gandhi, Pandit Nehru and Dr. B.R. Ambedkar were unveiled in the Assembly premises by Dr. Manmohan Singh, the Prime Minister of India on September 3, 2005. A bust of K.R.Narayanan, former President of India was unveiled in the parlour of the House on March 15, 2006 by the Honourable Speaker Shri Therambil Ramakrishnan.
A Museum for Legislature highlighting the various stages in the people representation was formally inaugurated on May 5, 2006.
On May 13, 2006 the Twelfth Kerala Legislative Assembly was constituted. A nineteen member Ministry headed by Shri V.S. Achuthanandan was sworn in on May18, 2006. The first session of the Twelfth Kerala Legislative Assembly commenced on May 24, 2006. Shri K.Radhakrishnan was elected as the Speaker of the Assembly on May 25, 2006 and Shri Jose Baby was elected as the Deputy Speaker on June 20, 2006.
October 13, 2006 witnessed the untimely demise of Shri. Mathai Chacko, the Member elected from the Thiruvambadi Constituency. Shri. Mathai Chacko had not had the opportunity of attending even one sitting of the Twelfth Kerala Legislative Assembly, as he had been hospitalised even during the Election campaign. The swearing-in ceremony of the late Member was also unique in the sense that it was the first ever instance of an elected candidate taking oath or affirmation outside the State Capital. (The affirmation had been taken on May 29, 2006 from the hospital bed).
Shri. George M. Thomas got elected on December 7, 2006 in the Bye-election held on December 4, 2006. Shri. George M. Thomas took affirmation on December 15, 2006.
The thirteenth Kerala Legislative Assembly was constituted on May 13, 2011 and a coalition ministry headed by Shri Oommen Chandy was sworn in on May 18, 2001. The Ministry was expanded on May 23, 2011. The ministers in the cabinet are Shri. P. K. Abdu Rabb, Shri. Adoor Prakash, Shri. A. P. Anilkumar, Shri. Aryadan Mohammed, Shri. K. Babu, Shri. C. N. Balakrishnan, Shri. V. K. Ebrahim Kunju, Shri. K. B. Ganesh Kumar, Shri. T. M. Jacob, Kumari P. K. Jayalekshmi, Shri. K. C. Joseph, Shri. P. J. Joseph, Shri. P. K. Kunhalikutty, Shri. K. M. Mani, Shri. K. P. Mohanan, Dr. M. K. Muneer, Shri. Shibu Baby John, Shri. V .S. Sivakumar and Shri. Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan. They were sworn in by His Excellency R.S.Gavai, Governor of Kerala at a function organised for the purpose at Kerala Raj Bhavan Thiruvananthapuram
Shri G. Karthikeyan was elected as the Speaker on June 2, 2011 and Shri N.Shakthan as Deputy Speaker on June 28, 2011.
Shri.T. M. Jacob, Minister- Food and Civil Supplies, passed away on 30th October 2011