The Kerala Legislature has had three parallel courses of development in the three regions of Travancore, Cochin and Malabar until they were merged together on 1 November, 1956 to form the State of Kerala. The history of Kerala Legislature dates back to 1888, when on 30 March of the same year the Maharaja of Travancore, by passing a Regulation, established a Council for the purpose of making laws and regulations. The tenure of the Council was 3 years and composed of 8 members. The inaugural meeting of the Council was held on 23 August, 1888. The Regulation of 1888 was modified on 21 March, 1898 and the strength of the Council was raised to 15.
In 1904 the Maharaja took another significant step to associate the people with the administration by creating the Sri Moolam Popular Assembly of Travancore in addition to the Legislative Council. The total membership of the Assembly was 100. The first meeting of the Assembly was held on 22 October, 1904. In 1907, the Assembly was empowered to elect four members to the Legislative Council. The Legislative Council was remodelled in 1919 and its strength was raised to 25. In October, 1921, the composition and character of the Council underwent further change. The total membership of the Council was raised to 50 comprising 28 elected and 22 nominated members ( including 7 non -official members).
On 28 October 1932, the Travancore Legislative Reforms Regulation introduced a bicameral set up with the creation of a Lower House, Sri Moolam Assembly, and an Upper House, the Sri Chitra State Council on 1 January1933. The earlier bodies were abolished. The new Assembly had 72 members while the Sri Chitra State Council had 37 members. The bicameral Legislature continued till 4 September 1947. The new Assembly, called the Representatives Body was to function as the Constituent Assembly of Travancore. On the basis of the adult franchise, 120 members were elected. The Assembly (1948-49) held its first sitting on 20 March, 1948.
In Cochin State, the first Legislative Council was inaugurated in April 1925 under the Cochin Legislative Council Act of 1923. In 1938, Cochin made a unique constitutional experiment under the Government of Cochin Act, 1938 by establishing a system of dyarchy by which a member of the Legislature was appointed Minister to administer certain transferred subjects. In 1946, the number of Ministers was raised to four, and more subjects were transferred. On 14 August 1947, the eve of Indian Independence, the Maharaja of Cochin, in a message sent to the Legislative Council announced his decision to grant full responsible government. In 1948, adult franchise was introduced and the Legislative Council was termed as the Legislative Assembly. The Assembly had 58 members.
On 1 July 1949, the State of Travancore and Cochin were merged to form the United States of Tranvancore and Cochin. The first Legislative Assembly (1949-51) of the United States of Travancore and Cochin was composed of 178 members who were members of the Legislative bodies of Travancore and Cochin immediately before integration. With the Constitution of India coming in to force, on 26 January, 1950, Trvancore-Cochin became a constituent unit of the Union of India.
Malabar, which was a district of the Madras Province under British rule, had representatives in the Madras Legislative Assembly from 1920’s. In the years from 1930 to 1936, Malabar used to send 5 members to the Madras Legislature. In the first Legislative Assembly of Madras (1937-46), created under the 1935 Act, there were 16 members from Malabar. The second Assembly (1946-47) had 20 members. The first general elections to the Madras Legislative Assembly, held in 1951, after the adoption of the Constituion of India, brought in 29 members from Malabar region to the Madras Legislative Assembly.
Under the States Reorganisation Act of 1956, Travancore-Cochin State and Malabar were united to form the State of Kerala on 1 November 1956.
The first General Election to the Kerala Legislative Assembly was held in February –March 1957. The strength of the House was 127 including one nominated member. The present Kerala Legislative Assembly consists of 140 elected members and one member nominated by the Governor from the Anglo-Indian community. The normal term of the Legislative Assembly is 5 years unless sooner dissolved.