The functions of the Provincial Assembly are briefly described.

1. To make laws

This function is naturally subject to certain limitations including:

  • The Provincial Assembly cannot legislate when an emergency is declared in the country.
  • The Provincial Assembly cannot make laws which are against the fundamental rights of the citizens of the country.
  • Principles of policy or rule of law should be the basis for each law.
  • A law cannot be enacted unless it is in conformity with the injunctions of Islam.
  • The Provincial Assembly cannot legislate on matters, which do not fall within its purview, although it can legislate on matters listed in the Concurrent Legislative List. However where parliament makes a law in the Concurrent Legislative List, and Provincial Assembly also legislates on it, the Provincial law will be void to the extent of the repugnancy with the Federal law.
  • Residuary List: The Provincial Assembly has exclusive powers to make laws, with respect to any matter not specified either in the Federal Legislative List or in the Concurrent Legislative List. It is called the Residuary List. Residuary matters are exclusively within Provincial autonomy.

 

2. Manager of the purse of the nation

Expenditure can only take place from the Provincial Consolidated Fund if it is authorized by the Provincial Assembly. Provincial Assembly exercises checks over the executive through control over the Finance.


3. Approval of Budgets

The Provincial Assembly has the power to approve or refuse any demand in the budget and to reduce the amount specified in the demand. Once the budget is approved, the Government does not have the right to deviate from these sanctions. For excess expenditure the Government has to seek regularization from the Assembly. Audit reports of the Government are further scrutinized by the Public Accounts Committee of the Assembly.


4. An oversight body

The Provincial Assembly, a representative institution of the voice of the public, keeps checks upon policies, practices and performance of the Government acting as an oversight body.

 

5. Devices of Accountability

  • Issues relating to the public interest are raised by the Members and discussed in the House in the form of questions, adjournment motions, call attention notices, general discussion, resolutions and various reports.
  • Members Support Program: This program is meant to serve Members of the Provincial Assembly in different areas. They are provided legislative help in drafting private members bills. To provide these facilities, in 1997 the Research and Reference Division was formed in the Punjab Assembly, and a library and access to computers were made a part of the division. The division was exclusively established with the objective of providing necessary information and data to Members. There is also additional information available about the Assembly itself, such as the Agenda of the proceedings, date of next sitting, schedule of the meetings of the committees and information about Members.