The Info List - Madras Legislative Council

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TAMIL NADU LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL was the upper house of the bicameral legislature of the Indian state of Tamil Nadu
Tamil Nadu
. It began its existence as MADRAS LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL, the first provincial legislature for Madras Presidency
Madras Presidency
. It was initially created as an advisory body in 1861, by the British colonial government . It was established by the first Indian Council Act of 1861, enacted in the British parliament in the aftermath of the Indian Rebellion of 1857
Indian Rebellion of 1857
. Its role and strength were later expanded by the second Council Act of 1892. Limited election was introduced in 1909. The Council became a unicameral legislative body in 1921 and eventually the upper chamber of a bicameral legislature in 1937. After India
became independent in 1947, it continued to be the upper chamber of the legislature of Madras State , one of the successor states to the Madras Presidency. It was renamed as the Tamil Nadu
Tamil Nadu
Legislative Council when the state was renamed as Tamil Nadu
Tamil Nadu
in 1969. The Council was abolished by the M. G. Ramachandran administration on 1 November 1986. In 2010 the DMK regime headed by M. Karunanidhi
M. Karunanidhi
tried to revive the Council. The current AIADMK regime has expressed its intention not to revive the council and has passed a resolution in the Tamil Nadu
Tamil Nadu
Legislative Assembly in this regard.


* 1 History and evolution

* 1.1 Origin * 1.2 Expansion * 1.3 Further expansion * 1.4 Diarchy (1920-37) * 1.5 Provincial autonomy (1937-50) * 1.6 In Republic of India

* 2 Abolition * 3 Revival attempt * 4 Location * 5 Chief Ministers from the Council * 6 Presiding Officers * 7 See also * 8 References * 9 External links



See also: Indian Councils Act 1861 and Madras Legislative Council, 1861-1891

The first Indian Councils Act of 1861 set up the Madras Legislative Council as an advisory body through which the colonial administration obtained advice and assistance. The Act empowered the provincial Governor to nominate four non-English Indian members to the council for the first time. Under the Act, the nominated members were allowed to move their own bills and vote on bills introduced in the council. However, they were not allowed to question the executive, move resolutions or examine the budget. Also they could not interfere with the laws passed by the Central Legislature. The Governor was also the president of the Council and he had complete authority over when, where and how long to convene the Council and what to discuss. Two members of his Executive Council and the Advocate-General of Madras were also allowed to participate and vote in the Council. The Indians nominated under this Act were mostly zamindars and ryotwari landowners, who often benefited from their association with the colonial government. Supportive members were often re-nominated for several terms. G. N. Ganapathy Rao was nominated eight times, Humayun Jah Bahadur was a member for 23 years, T. Rama Rao and P. Chentsal Rao were members for six years each. Other prominent members during the period included V. Bhashyam Aiyangar , S. Subramania Iyer
S. Subramania Iyer
and C. Sankaran Nair . The Council met infrequently and in some years (1874 and 1892) was not convened even once. The maximum of number of times it met in a year was eighteen. The Governor preferred to convene the Council at his summer retreat Udagamandalam
, much to the displeasure of the Indian members. The few times when the Council met, it was for only a few hours with bills and resolutions being rushed through.


See also: Madras Legislative Council, 1891-1909

Council meetings during 1891-1909 YEARS NO OF DAYS

1906 2

1897,1901 3

1894,1907 4

1896,1898,1909 5

1899, 1902, 1903, 1904 6

1900 7

1895,1905 8

1893 9

In 1892, the role of the Council was expanded by the Indian Councils Act of 1892. The Act increased the number of additional members of the Council to a maximum of 20, of whom not more than nine had to be officials. The Act introduced the method of election for the Council, but did not mention word "election" explicitly. The elected members were officially called as "nominated" members and their method of election was described as "recommendation". Such "recommendations" were made by district boards, universities, municipalities and other associations. The term of the members was fixed at two years. The Council could also discuss the annual financial statement and ask questions subject to certain limitations. Thirty eight Indian members were "nominated" in the eight elections during 1893-1909 when this Act was in effect. C. Jambulingam Mudaliar , N. Subba Rao Pantulu , P. Kesava Pillai and C. Vijayaraghavachariar representing southern group of district boards, Kruthiventi Perraju Pantulu of the northern group of municipalities, C. Sankaran Nair
C. Sankaran Nair
and P. Rangaiah Naidu from the Corporation of Madras and P. S. Sivaswami Iyer , V. Krishnaswamy Iyer and M. Krishnan Nair from the University of Madras
University of Madras
were some of the active members. However, over a period of time, representation by Indian members dwindled, for example, the position of Bashyam Iyengar and Sankaran Nayar in 1902 was occupied by Acworth and Sir George Moore. The council did not meet more than 9 days in a year during the time the Act was in effect.


Constituencies that elected members (1909–19) CONSTITUENCY NO OF MEMBERS

District boards and Municipalities 10

University of Madras 1

South India
Chamber of Commerce 1

Madras Traders Association 1

Zamindars 2

Large landholders 3

Muslims 2

Planters 1

The Indian Councils Act 1909 (popularly called as "Minto-Morley Reforms"), officially introduced the method of electing members to the Council. But it did not provide for direct election of the members. It abolished automatic official (executive) majorities in the Council and gave its members the power to move resolutions upon matters of general public interest and the budget and also to ask supplementary questions. There were a total of 21 elected members and 21 nominated members. The Act allowed up to 16 nominated members to be official and the remaining five were required to be non-officials. The Governor was also authorised to nominate two experts whenever necessary. As before, the Governor, his two executive council members and the Advocate-General were also members of the Council. P. Kesava Pillai , A. S. Krishna Rao , N. Krishnaswami Iyengar , B. N. Sarma , B. V. Narasimha Iyer , K. Perraju Pantulu , T. V. Seshagiri Iyer , P. Siva Rao , V. S. Srinivasa Sastri
V. S. Srinivasa Sastri
, P. Theagaraya Chetty and Yakub Hasan Sait were among the active members.

DIARCHY (1920-37)

See also: Government of India
Act 1919 and Diarchy in Madras Presidency

Based on the recommendations of the Montague-Chelmsford report, the Government of India
Act of 1919 was enacted. The Act enlarged the provincial legislative councils and increased the strength of elected members to be greater than that of nominated and official members. It introduced a system of dyarchy in the Provinces. Although this Act brought about representative Government in India, the Governor was empowered with overriding powers. It classified the subjects as belonging to either the Centre or the Provinces. The Governor General could override any law passed by the Provincial councils. It brought about the concept of "Partial Responsible Government" in the provinces. Provincial subjects were divided into two categories - reserved and transferred. Education, Sanitation, Local self-government, Agriculture and Industries were listed as the transferred subjects. Law, Finance, Revenue and Home affairs were the reserved subjects. The provincial council could decide the budget in so far it related to the transferred subjects. Executive machinery dealing with those subjects was placed under the direct control of provincial legislature. However, the provincial legislature and the ministers did not have any control over the reserved subjects, which came under the Governor and his Executive council.

Councils under dyarchy COUNCIL TERM

First 17 December 1920 – 11 September 1923

Second 26 November 1923 – 7 November 1926

Third November 1926 - October 1930

Fourth October 1930 - November 1934

Fifth November 1934 - January 1937

The Council had a total of 127 members in addition to the ex - officio members of the Governor's Executive Council. Out of the 127, 98 were elected from 61 constituencies of the presidency. The constituencies comprised three arbitrary divisions - 1)communal constituencies such as non-Muhammadan urban, non-Muhammadan rural, non-Brahman urban, Mohamaddan urban, Mohamaddan rural, Indian Christian, European and Anglo-Indian 2)special constituencies such as landholders, Universities, planters and trade associations (South India
Chamber of Commerce "> Fort St. George where the Tamil Nadu Legislature
functioned for 60 years Senate House, Madras University

Fort St. George has historically been the seat of the Government of Tamil Nadu
Tamil Nadu
since colonial times. During 1921-37, the Madras Legislative Council met at the council chambers within the fort. Between 14 July 1937 – 21 December 1938, the assembly met at the Senate House of the University of Madras
University of Madras
and between 27 January 1938 - 26 October 1939 in the Banqueting Hall (later renamed as Rajaji Hall ) in the Government Estate complex at Mount Road . During 1946-52, it moved back to the Fort St. George. In 1952, the strength of the assembly rose to 375, after the constitution of the first legislative assembly, and it was briefly moved into temporary premises at the government estate complex. This move was made in March 1952, as the existing assembly building only had a seating capacity of 260. Then on 3 May 1952, it moved into the newly constructed assembly building in the same complex. The legislature functioned from the new building (later renamed as Kalaivanar Arangam during 1952-56. However, with the reorganisation of states and formation of Andhra, the strength came down to 190 and the legislature moved back to Fort St. George in 1956. From December 1956 till January 2010, the Fort remained the home to the legislature . In 2004, during the 12th assembly, the ADMK Government under J. Jayalalitha made unsuccessful attempts to shift the assembly (the council had been abolished by then), first to the location of Queen Mary's College and later to the Anna University campus, Guindy
. Both attempts were withdrawn after public opposition. During the 13th Assembly, the DMK government led by M. Karunanidhi proposed a new plan to shift the assembly and the government secretariat to the a new building in the Omandurar Government Estate. In 2007, the German architectural firm GMP International won the design competition to design and construct the new assembly complex. Construction began in 2008 and was completed in 2010. The assembly functioned in the new assembly building during March 2010 - May 2011. In May 2011, the Tamil Nadu
Tamil Nadu
legislature was moved back to Fort St. George.

List of historical locations where the Tamil Nadu
Tamil Nadu
Legislative Council has been housed:


1921–1937 Council chambers, Fort St. George

14 July 1937 – 21 December 1938 Senate House , Madras University
Madras University
Campus , Chepauk

27 January 1938 – 26 October 1939 Banqueting Hall ( Rajaji Hall ), Government Estate (Omandurar Estate), Mount Road

24 May 1946 – 27 March 1952 Council chambers, Fort St. George

3 May 1952 – 27 December 1956 Kalaivanar Arangam, Government Estate (Omandurar Estate)

29 April 1957 – 30 March 1959 Assembly Hall, Fort St. George

20–30 April 1959 Aranmore Palace, Udhagamandalam

31 August 1959 - 1986 Assembly Hall, Fort St. George


During its existence as the upper chamber of Tamil Nadu
Tamil Nadu
Legislature, the Council has been used twice to appoint non members of the legislatures as Chief Minister. The first time this happened was in 1952 , when C. Rajagopalachari
C. Rajagopalachari
(Rajaji) was nominated by Governor Sri Prakasa to the Council so that Rajaji could become chief minister. The second time was in 1967 when C. N. Annadurai became the chief minister first and then got himself elected to the Council.


This article is part of a series on


State of Tamil Nadu தமிழ்நாடு மாநிலம்

State Government

* CONSTITUTION OF INDIA Fundamental Rights



* GOVERNMENT STRUCTURE Government\'s Departments Government Organisations

* JUDICIARY Madras High Court
Madras High Court
Chief Justice District Courts


* General Elections * Assembly Elections * Local body elections * State Election Commission


* State Parties * Dravidian parties

* STATE COALITIONS Democratic Progressive Alliance (DPA) National Democratic Alliance (NDA) United Front United Progressive Alliance (UPA)

Local Government

* URBAN City Municipal Corporations Municipalities Town Panchayats * RURAL District Panchayat Panchayat Union Village Panchayat

* v * t * e

During 1861-1937, the presiding officer of the Madras Legislative Council was known as the "President of the Council". From its establishment in 1861 till dyarchy was introduced in 1921, the Governor of Madras was also the President of the Council. After dyarchy introduced, the first and second council presidents, Perungavalur Rajagopalachari and L. D. Swamikannu Pillai , were appointed by the Governor himself. The presidents who came after them were chosen by the Council itself. During 1937-86, the presiding officer was called as the "Chairman of the Council". The following table lists the presiding officers of the Council.



1 William Thomas Denison 18 February 1861 26 November 1863

2 Edward Maltby (acting) 26 November 1863 18 January 1864

3 William Thomas Denison 18 January 1864 27 March 1866

4 Lord Napier 27 March 1866 19 February 1872

5 Alexander John Arbuthnot (acting) 19 February 1872 15 May 1872

6 Lord Hobart 15 May 1872 29 April 1875

7 William Rose Robinson (acting) 29 April 1875 23 November 1875

8 Duke of Buckingham and Chandos 23 November 1875 20 December 1880

9 William Huddleston (acting) 24 May 1881 5 November 1881

10 Mountstuart Elphinstone Grant Duff 5 November 1881 8 December 1886

11 Robert Bourke, Baron Connemara 8 December 1886 1 December 1890

12 John Henry Garstin 1 December 1890 23 January 1891

13 Bentley Lawley, Baron Wenlock 23 January 1891 18 March 1896

14 Arthur Elibank Havelock 18 March 1896 28 December 1900

15 Arthur Oliver Villiers-Russell, Baron Ampthill 28 December 1900 30 April 1904

16 James Thompson (acting) 30 April 1904 13 December 1904

17 Arthur Oliver Villiers-Russell, Baron Ampthill 13 December 1904 15 February 1906

18 Gabriel Stoles (acting) 15 February 1906 28 March 1906

19 Arthur Lawley, Baron Wenlock 28 March 1906 3 November 1911

20 Thomas David Gibson-Carmichael, Baron Carmichael 3 November 1911 30 March 1912

21 Sir Murray Hammick (acting) 30 March 1912 30 October 1912

22 John Sinclair, Baron Pentland 30 October 1912 29 March 1919

23 Sir Alexander Gordon Cardew 29 March 1919 10 April 1919

24 George Freeman Freeman-Thomas, Baron Willingdon 10 April 1919 12 April 1924

DURING DYARCHY (1920–1937)

1 Sir P. Rajagopalachari 1920 1923 Non-Partisan

2 L. D. Swamikannu Pillai 1923 September 1925 Justice Party

3 M. Ratnaswami September 1925 1926

4 C. V. S. Narasimha Raju 1926 1930 Swaraj Party

5 B. Ramachandra Reddi 1930 1937 Justice Party


1 U. Rama Rao 1937 1945 Indian National Congress
Indian National Congress


1 R. B. Ramakrishna Raju 1946 1952 Indian National Congress

2 P. V. Cherian 1952 20 April 1964 Indian National Congress

3 M. A. Manickavelu Naicker 1964 1970 Indian National Congress

4 C. P. Chitrarasu 1970 1976 Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam
Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam

5 M. P. Sivagnanam 1976 1986 Tamil Arasu Kazhagam


* Tamil Nadu
Tamil Nadu
Legislative Assembly * List of Chief Ministers of Tamil Nadu
Tamil Nadu
* Governors of Madras
Governors of Madras
* List of Speakers of the Tamil Nadu
Tamil Nadu
Legislative Assembly


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Tamil Nadu
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Tamil Nadu
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