The Indian Councils Act, 1861 laid the foundation for the establishment of a local legislature in the Punjab; and section 44 of the Act, as well as the dispatch of Sir Charles Wood, Her Majesty’s Secretary of State for India, left it to the Governor-General in Council to determine at what time, effect should be given to this intention. The older provinces received the privilege at once but the province of Punjab, along with a few others, was admitted to this privilege after a period of 36 years1, when the 1861 Act had been modified by the Indian Councils Act, 1892.
The first ever Legislature in the Punjab was thus constituted in 1897. Though it was a nominated body of both official and non-official members, it had the power of making laws. The General Clauses Act, 1898 (moved by Sir Louis William Dane on November 1, 1897 and passed by the Council on April 15, 1898) was the first enactment in the history of Punjab.
The first Council functioned for a period of more than eleven years. It held 28 meetings and passed 23 laws2. The meetings of the Council were presided over by the Lieutenant Governor himself.