The State Council of Ceylon was the
unicameral In government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a State (polity), state. In the case of its broad associative definition, government normally consists of legislature, Executive ...
legislature for Ceylon (now
Sri Lanka Sri Lanka (, ; si, ශ්‍රී ලංකා, Śrī Laṅkā, translit-std=ISO; ta, இலங்கை, Ilaṅkai, translit-std=ISO), formerly known as Ceylon, and officially the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, is an island ...
), established in 1931 by the Donoughmore Constitution. The State Council gave universal adult franchise to the people of the colony for the first time. It replaced the Legislative Council of Ceylon, the colony's original legislative body. There were only two State Councils: the First, elected in 1931, and the Second, elected in 1936. The 1947
Soulbury Constitution The Herwald Ramsbotham, 1st Viscount Soulbury, Soulbury Commission ( si, සෝල්බරි කොමිෂන් සභාව ''Solbari Komishan Sabhawa''; ta, சோல்பரி ஆணைக்குழு), announced in 1944 was, like its ...
replaced the State Council with the
Parliament of Ceylon The Parliament of Ceylon was the legislative body of British Ceylon Ceylon ( Sinhala: බ්‍රිතාන්‍ය ලංකාව, ''Brithānya Laṃkāva''; Tamil: பிரித்தானிய இலங்கை, ''Birithaniya Ilang ...
, as part of a process of constitutional development leading up to independence, which took place on 4 February 1948.


Due to Ceylonese demands for constitutional reform, a
royal commission A royal commission is a major ad-hoc formal public inquiry into a defined issue in some monarchies. They have been held in the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom ...
was established by the British authorities under the chairmanship of the Earl of Donoughmore. The Donoughmore Commission arrived in the colony in 1927, before returning to the United Kingdom where it issued its report. The Commission proposed reforms which were implemented as the so-called Donoughmore Constitution, resulting in the abolition of the Legislative Council of Ceylon as the colony's legislature, and its replacement by a "State Council" in 1931. The structure and working of the State Council was experimental, and was based in part on the United Kingdom's
London County Council London County Council (LCC) was the principal local government body for the County of London The County of London was a county of England from 1889 to 1965, corresponding to the area known today as Inner London. It was created as part of th ...
. The State Council functioned in both an executive and legislative capacity, with seven committees performing executive duties. Each committee consisted of designated members of the State Council, and was chaired by an elected Ceylonese who was addressed as minister. The Ceylonese ministers formed a board of ministers with three British officials of ministerial rank who handled defence, external affairs, finance, and judicial matters. The Donoughmore Constitution was not considered a great success, and this combined with Ceylonese demands for further constitutional reform led to a new commission being established, under the chairmanship of
Lord Soulbury
Lord Soulbury
, which arrived in Ceylon in 1944. Based on the report by the Soulbury Commission, a new constitution was created, by which the State Council was replaced by a
Parliament In modern politics and history, a parliament is a legislature, legislative body of government. Generally, a modern parliament has three functions: Representation (politics), representing the Election#Suffrage, electorate, making laws, an ...
, elections for which were conducted in 1947. Negotiations with Ceylon's newly elected government resulted in the British granting Ceylon independence as a
dominion The word Dominion was used from 1907 to 1948 to refer to one of several self-governing colonies of the British Empire. "Dominion status" was formally accorded to Canada, Australia, Dominion of New Zealand, New Zealand, Dominion of Newfoundland ...
in 1948.


The State Council consisted of 58 members, of whom 50 would be elected by universal suffrage, with the remaining 8 members appointed by the British governors of Ceylon, Governor.

Members of the State Council

;Speakers of the State Council * Sir Alfred Francis Molamure (1931–34) * Sir Forester Augustus Obeysekera (1934–35) * Sir Waitialingm Duraiswamy (1936–47) ;Officers of State *Chief Secretary of Ceylon *Legal Secretary of Ceylon *Financial Secretary of Ceylon ;Leaders of the House * Sir Don Baron Jayatilaka (1931–42) * Don Stephen Senanayake (1942–47) ;Ministers of the State Council * First Board of Ministers of Ceylon (1931–35) * Second Board of Ministers of Ceylon (1936–47) ;Clerk of the State Council The Clerk of the State Council was the senior administrative officer of council and an apolitical civil servant. * G. N. Farquhar, , Ceylon Civil Service, CCS (1930–1932) * V. Coomaraswamy, Ceylon Civil Service, CCS (1932–1933) * E. W. Kannangara, Ceylon Civil Service, CCS (1933–1940) * D. C. R. Gunawardana, Ceylon Civil Service, CCS (1940–1947) * R.St. L. P. Deraniyagala, CBE (1947) ;Members of the State Council * 1st State Council of Ceylon#Members, Members of the 1st State Council of Ceylon * 2nd State Council of Ceylon#Members, Members of the 2nd State Council of Ceylon


* * * {{British Ceylon period topics State Council of Ceylon, 1931 establishments in Ceylon 1947 disestablishments in Ceylon Governance of the British Empire Government of Sri Lanka Defunct unicameral legislatures, Ceylon