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The Legislative Council of Burma was the legislative body of British Burma from 1897 to 1936.

Legislative Council of Burma
Preceded byHluttaw of Konbaung Dynasty
Succeeded byLegislature of Burma
Seats9 (1897-1923)
103 (1923-1936)
Last election
1932 Burmese general election
Meeting place
Rangoon, British Burma


It was established in 1897 as an advisory council to the British colonial governor, the Lieutenant-Governor of Burma, in drafting legislation for Burma. The Legislative Council was initially an appointed body,[1] established as a nine-member council consisting of four officials and five nominated non-officials.[2] Its membership, which increased from nine to thirty members, predominantly represented foreign commercial interests.[1] Prior to its establishment, Burmese laws were made in India, whereby laws drafted by the local administration in Burma were submitted to the Legislative Council of India for approval.[2] After the passage of such laws, they were consented to by the Governor-General-in-Council and put into effect through publication within the Burma Gazette.[2]


On 2 January 1923, with the enactment of the Montagu–Chelmsford Reforms (which granted British India dyarchy constitution, giving Burma a limited measure of self-rule), the Council was recast as a partially elected body.[3] The new Legislative Council consisted of 103 seats, 80 filled by election, 8 by nomination of non-officials, 13 by nomination of officials, and 2 by members of the Governor's Executive Council ex-officio.[3] The 80 elected seats were divided as follows: 22 to urban constituencies in 8 towns, with 8 of them to the Burmese Indian community; 49 to rural constituencies in 31 districts, with 5 to the Karen; and the remaining given to special constituencies like Rangoon University and various chambers of commerce.[3]

Elections were held in 1922, 1925 and 1928.[4] Burmese nationalists, organized by the General Council of Burmese Associations, boycotted elections to the Legislative Council, and under 7% of the electorate voted in the 1922 elections.[1] Turnout continued to be low: just over 16% in 1925, and 18% in 1928.[5]


  1. ^ a b c Robert H. Taylor (2009). The State in Myanmar. NUS Press. p. 185. ISBN 978-9971-69-466-1. Retrieved 24 November 2012.
  2. ^ a b c Brown, Ian (1013). Burma's Economy in the Twentieth Century. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 9781107015883.
  3. ^ a b c Maung Maung (2012). Burma’s Constitution. Springer Science & Business Media. ISBN 9789401188906.
  4. ^ Carl A. Trocki (1992). "Political Structures in the Nineteenth and early Twentieth Centuries". In Nicholas Tarling (ed.). The Cambridge History of Southeast Asia: Volume 2, the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries. Cambridge University Press. p. 126. ISBN 978-0-521-35506-3. Retrieved 24 November 2012.
  5. ^ R. H. Taylor (1996). The Politics of Elections in Southeast Asia: Delusion Or Necessity?. Cambridge University Press. p. 165. ISBN 978-0-521-56443-4. Retrieved 24 November 2012.