Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA) 1968


Definitions in this Act,-

> “essential service” means-

(i) any postal, telegraph or telephone service;
(ii) any railway service or any other transport service for the carriage of passengers or goods by land, water or air with respect to which Parliament has power to make laws;
(iii) any service connected with the operation or maintenance of aerodromes, or with the operation, repair or maintenance of aircraft ;
(iv) any service connected with the loading, unloading, movement or storage of goods in any port;
(v) any service connected with the clearance of goods or passengers through the customs or with the prevention of smuggling;
(vi) any service in any mint or security press; 66 (vii) any service in any defence establishment of the Government of India;
(viii) any service in connection with the affairs of the Union, not being a service specified in any of the foregoing sub-clauses ;
(ix) any other service connected with matters with respect to which Parliament has power to make laws and which the Central Government being of opinion that strikes therein would prejudicially affect the maintenance of any public utility service, the public safety or the maintenance of supplies and services necessary for the life of the community or would result in the infliction of grave hardship on the community

> “strike

means the cessation of work by a body of persons employed in any essential service acting in combination or a concerted refusal or a refusal under a common understanding of any number of persons who are or have been so employed to continue to work or to accept employment, and includes-
(i) refusal to work overtime where such work is necessary for the maintenance of any essential service ;
(ii) any other conduct which is likely to, result in, or results in, cessation or substantial retardation of work in any essential service.

An Order made shall be in force for six months only, but the Central Government may, by a like Order, extend it for any period not exceeding six months if it is satisfied that in the public interest it is necessary or expedient so to do.

Upon the issue of an Order under sub-section (I),-
(a)no person employed in any essential service to which the Order relates shall go or remain on strike ;
(b) any strike declared or commenced, whether before or after the issue of the Order, by persons employed in any such service shall be illegal.

>Penalty for illegal strikes.

Penalty for illegal strikes. Any person who commences a strike which is illegal under this Act or goes or remains on, or otherwise takes part in, any such strike shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to six months, or with fine which may extend to two hundred rupees, or with both. 5. Penalty for instigation, etc.

>>. Penalty for instigation, etc. Any person who instigates, or incites other persons to take part in, or otherwise acts in furtherance of, a strike which is illegal under this Act shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to one year, or with fine which may extend to one thousand rupees, or with both.

>>. Penalty for giving financial aid to illegal strikes. 6.Penalty for giving financial aid to illegal strikes. Any person who knowingly expends or supplies any money in furtherance or support of a strike which is illegal under this Act shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to one- year, or with fine which may extend to one thousand rupees, or with both.

>Power to arrest without warrant.

.Power to arrest without warrant. Notwithstanding anything contained in the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1898,(5 of 1898), any police officer may arrest without warrant any person who is reasonably suspected of having committed any offence under this Act. 8. Act to override other laws.

Repeal and saving

(1)Repeal and saving. The Essential Services Maintenance Ordinance, 1968,(9 of 1968), hereby repealed.
(2) Notwithstanding such repeal, anything done or any action taken under the said Ordinance shall be deemed to have been done or taken under this Act, as if this Act had come into force on the 13th day of September, 1968.

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