Sikkim State Council
Coat of arms or logo
Succeeded bySikkim Legislative Assembly
Length of term
3 years
State Council voting system
First State Council election
Last State Council election
Meeting place
Gangtok, Sikkim
Sikkim (in red) within South Asia (in pale yellow)

The State Council of Sikkim was the unicameral legislature of the former Kingdom of Sikkim, which was located in the Himalayas, between India and China.

There were six elections held for the council between 1953 and 1974. In 1975, after a referendum to abolish the monarchy, and the passing of the 36th amendment to the Indian constitution, the monarchy was abolished, along with the State Council. The territory of the kingdom was merged with India, becoming its 22nd state. The members of the State Council at the time, were deemed to be the Legislative Assembly of the newly formed state.


The council was composed of some elected members and some nominated by the Chogyal. After the 1973 election, the composition was changed and the appointments by the Chogyal were eliminated, while at the same time the number of seats in the council was increased.[1]

Executive Council

From among the State Council members, an Executive Council (equivalent to a cabinet of ministers) was chosen by the Chogyal. The Executive Council was presided over by the Dewan of Sikkim,[2] and each member within it was given individual government responsibilities.[3]


The State Council of Sikkim existed since at least the late 19th century.[4] It was an advisory and executive body, and was presided by the Chogyal (King). After the Independence of neighbouring India in August 1947, various political bodies in Sikkim began to demand greater say in the kingdom's administration.[5] In 1952, the Chogyal conceded and announced new constituencies, for an election in 1953.[6][2]

The Chogyal agreed to have 12 (out of 18) seats on the council, be electable. The other six were appointed by the Chogyal. Under a parity formula agreed upon by the political groups, six of the electable seats were to be for the Sikkim Nepalis and the other six for the Bhutia-Lepcha (BL) people. There were four constituencies drawn up of the kingdom, and elections were to be held in 1953.[2] In the 1953 election, all the Nepali-reserved seats were won by the Sikkim National Party, while the BL-reserved seats were won by the Sikkim State Congress.[7][8]

Chogyal Tashi Namgyal initiated proceedings for the first election to the Council, in 1953

Although the term of the Council was set as three years, the Chogyal decided to extend the term of the first Council, until 1958.[9] Due to requests from the monastery associations, and other groups, the number of electable seats on the council was increased by two: one for the Sangha, to be voted on by the monks, and one seat that was not reserved for any particular group.[10][11] In the elections of 1958, the Sikkim State Congress won an additional seat, while the unreserved seat was won by an Independent.[6]

The second council's term was due to end in 1961, but the outbreak of the Sino-Indian war led to the extension of its term till 1967. Before the 1967 election, the constituencies were redrawn and increased to five, and four more electable seats were added to the council: one each for the Sikkim Nepalis and the Bhutia-Lepcha, one for the Tsong, and one for people of the Scheduled Castes.[10][12]

After the 1973 elections, the Sikkim National Congress and Sikkim Janata Congress claimed that vote rigging took place in the South Sikkim constituency.[13] They demanded that officials involved be arrested, but these demands were not met, leading to protests.[6] The unrest led to the signing of a tripartite agreement, on 8 May, between the Choygal, Sikkimese political parties, and the government of India. The agreement led to the establishment of a government, supervised by a Chief Executive, who was nominated by the Indian government.[8] It also necessitated another delimitation exercise, where the Chogyal-appointed seats in the council were abolished, the State Council was renamed to the Sikkim Assembly, and thirty-one new constituencies were drawn, along with one constituency for the monasteries (Sangha). Keeping to the parity formula of 1952, 15 of the constituencies were reserved for the Bhutia-Lepcha, and 15 for the Sikkim-Nepalis. The other remaining constituency was for the Scheduled Castes. The principle of "one-man one-vote" was applied.[1] In the 1974 election, the Sikkim National Congress (which was in favour of Sikkim's merger with India), won an absolute majority with 31 of the 32 seats.[14]

Final years (1974–75)

Kazi Lhendup Dorjee was the last head of the Council. On 16 May 1975, he was sworn in as the first Chief Minister of the new Legislative Assembly of Sikkim.

In May 1974, the council passed the Government of Sikkim Act, which provided for responsible government, and furthering relations with India.[15] This was followed, in July, by them adopting a new constitution that provided for the country becoming a state of India. The Chogyal signed this constitution under pressure from the Indian government.[16] The Lok Sabha then voted in favour of making Sikkim an "associate" state. The Rajya Sabha voted for an amendment on 8 September, giving it a status equal to that of other states, and absorbing it in the Indian Union.[17][18] On 8 September, the Chogyal cited "widespread Sikkimese misgivings over the bill", and called for a free and fair referendum. The Sikkimese Students Association echoed his call for a referendum.[19]

In March 1975, the Sikkim National Congress repeated its calls for integration into India, while the Chogyal again called for a referendum.[16] On 9 April 1975, Indian troops entered the country, disarmed the palace guard (killing one of them, and injuring four others)[20] and surrounded the palace,[21] putting the king under house arrest.[22] The next day, the Council passed a Bill, declaring the office of the Chogyal as abolished, and called for a referendum on this issue, which was scheduled to be held four days later.[23] On 14 April, the referendum took place, resulting in more than 97% of the votes in favor of abolishing the monarchy.[16] Later in the month, on 26 April, the Indian parliament passed the 36th amendment to the constitution, which transformed Sikkim, from an Indian protectorate, to a new state within the Indian union.[24][25][26]

Palden Thondup Namgyal was the last Chogyal of Sikkim. He was deposed on 15 May 1975.

On 15 May, the Indian President Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed ratified the constitutional amendment (36th) that made Sikkim the 22nd state of India, and abolished the position of the Chogyal.[27] The State Council was considered to be dissolved, and its members were deemed to be the new Legislative Assembly of Sikkim.[28] Following this, B. B. Lal took charge as the Governor of the state on 16 May.[29]

Electoral history

Pro-Independence Pro-Merger [a] Other/
Appointed SNP
1953 6 6 6 0 18
1958 6 7 1 20
1967 5 10 3 24
1970 8 7 3
1973 9 7 2
1974 0 1 31 0 32
  1. ^ Includes Sikkim State Congress, Sikkim Janata Congress, and the Sikkim National Congress into which the rest eventually merged


Year Details Constituencies Seats Elections
Nepali BL Others Appointed Total
1952 Elections announced for a new State Council with 12 (out of 18) elected members[2] 4 6 6 0 6 18 1953
1958 Seats increased to 20[11] 4 6 6 2 (Sangha, General) 6 20 1958
1966 Representation of Sikkim Subjects Regulation, 1966[12]
Constituencies increased to 5, 2 additional general seats added
5 7 7 4 (Sangha, Tsong,
SC, General)
6 24 1967, 1970 and 1973
1974 The Government of Sikkim Act, 1974[1]
Multi-seat constituencies eliminated
32 15 15 2 (Sangha, SC) 0 32 1974

See also


  1. ^ a b c "The Government of Sikkim Act, 1974". 6 July 1974. Archived from the original on 9 July 2021. Retrieved 1 July 2021.
  2. ^ a b c d Tashi Namgyal (23 March 1953). "State Council and Executive Council Proclamation". pp. 16–21. Archived from the original on 30 June 2021. Retrieved 1 July 2021. The Dewas shall be the president of the Executive Council ...
  3. ^ Tashi Namgyal (4 August 1953). "State Council and Executive Council Proclamation - Memo No. 525". Endangered Archives Programme. pp. 25, 28. Archived from the original on 24 June 2021. Retrieved 22 June 2021.
  4. ^ "Proceeding of the Council meeting held at Gangtok on 16th November 1892". 16 November 1892. p. 62. Archived from the original on 9 July 2021. Retrieved 1 July 2021.
  5. ^ Sunanda K. Datta-Ray (1984). Smash And Grab - Annexation of Sikkim. Vikas Publishing House. pp. 55–60. ISBN 0706925092. Retrieved 15 June 2021.
  6. ^ a b c Hamlet Bareh (2001). Encyclopaedia of North-East India. Vol. 7:Sikkim. Mittal Publications. ISBN 9788170997948.
  7. ^ "Results of elections - 1953". Sikkim Darbar Gazette. 2 (12). 12 May 1953.
  8. ^ a b Pem Choden Tenzing (July 2019). Monarchy to Democracy Understanding Political Development in Sikkim, 1970-1994 (Thesis). p. 147. Archived from the original on 16 June 2021. Retrieved 17 June 2021.
  9. ^ "Proclamation of Tashi Namgyal". Sikkim Darbar Gazette (1). 1956.
  10. ^ a b A. C. Sinha (February 2005). "Sikkim" (PDF). Sub-Regional Relations in the Eastern South Asia: With Special Focus on India's North Eastern Region. 113. Archived (PDF) from the original on 25 March 2023. Retrieved 3 July 2021.
  11. ^ a b Tashi Namgyal (16 March 1958). "Proclamation of His Highness Sir Tashi Namgyal, KCSI, KCIE, Maharaja of Sikkim, Dated the 16th March, 1958" (PDF). p. 102. Archived from the original (PDF) on 29 January 2023. Retrieved 16 June 2021.
  12. ^ a b Palden Thondup Namgyal (21 December 1966). "Representation of Sikkim Subjects Regulation, 1966". pp. 117–119. Archived from the original on 27 June 2021. Retrieved 1 July 2021.
  13. ^ Shanker Sharma (8 May 2021). "The 8th May Agreement". Sikkim Express. Archived from the original on 10 July 2021. Retrieved 10 July 2021. The defeated parties alleged polling in Rabong, in South Sikkim, was rigged in the favour of the SNP candidate
  14. ^ "Sikkim Legislative Assembly". Archived from the original on 21 September 2014. Retrieved 11 January 2022. The First Sikkim Assembly formed through the election held in 1974 with 32 members is deemed to be the First Legislative Assembly of Sikkim ... Sikkim Congress led by Kazi Lhendup Dorjee won 31 seats and one seat went in favour of Sikkim National Party.
  15. ^ Mahendra P. Lama (1994). Sikkim: Society, Polity, Economy, Environment. New Delhi: Indus Publishing Company. pp. 110–111. ISBN 8173870136.
  16. ^ a b c "Sikkim (Indien), 14. April 1975 : Abschaffung der Monarchie" [Sikkim (India), 14 April 1975: Abolition of the monarchy] (in German). 14 April 1975. Archived from the original on 18 August 2017. Retrieved 2 July 2021.
  17. ^ "Lawmakers Vote Sikkim Status of Indian State". The Spokesman-Review. 5 September 1974. Archived from the original on 21 August 2019. Retrieved 6 July 2021.
  18. ^ "Sikkim Bill Ratified". New Straits Times. 9 September 1974. Archived from the original on 21 August 2019. Retrieved 6 July 2021.
  19. ^ "Sikkim Leader Wants Appeal". The Montreal Gazette. 9 September 1974. Archived from the original on 21 August 2019. Retrieved 6 July 2021.
  20. ^ Asia Yearbook 1976
  21. ^ The World in 1975
  22. ^ Barun Roy (2012). Gorkhas and Gorkhaland. Parbati Roy Foundation. p. 250. ISBN 9789810786465.
  23. ^ "Sikkim Referendum Slated on Indian Statehood". The Lewiston Daily Sun. 11 April 1975. Archived from the original on 21 August 2019. Retrieved 7 July 2021.
  24. ^ "India Slates State Status for Sikkim". Toledo Blade. 17 April 1975. Archived from the original on 21 August 2019. Retrieved 7 July 2021.
  25. ^ "Sikkim Votes to End Monarchy, Merge With India". The New York Times. 16 April 1975. Archived from the original on 19 August 2017. Retrieved 7 July 2021.
  26. ^ "Sikkim annexation OK'd". Eugene Register-Guard. 27 April 1975. Archived from the original on 21 August 2019. Retrieved 7 July 2021.
  27. ^ "Sikkim Annexed, Now Indian State". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. 16 May 1975. Archived from the original on 21 August 2019. Retrieved 7 July 2021.
  28. ^ "The Constitution (Thirty-sixth Amendment) Act, 1975". Archived from the original on 7 February 2021. Retrieved 5 July 2021. ... the Assembly for Sikkim formed as a result of the elections held in Sikkim in April, 1974 ... shall be deemed to be the Legislative Assembly of the State of Sikkim
  29. ^ "Sikkim Durbar Gazette notifications". p. 384. Archived from the original on 24 June 2021. Retrieved 17 June 2021.
New institution Sikkim State Council 1953–1975 Succeeded bySikkim Legislative Assembly