Karnataka Assembly passes rigorous ESMA Bill

The Legislative Assembly of Karnataka passed a stringent Essential Services Maintenance Bill (ESMA), 2013 which will render striking work a non-bailable offence and empowers the police to arrest a striking employee without warrant.

Why Essential Services Maintenance Bill (ESMA), 2013?

The Essential Services Maintenance Bill (ESMA), 2013 aims to restrain employees working in water, power, health, transport and service sectors from going on strikes, inconveniencing people.  The bill defines ‘Essential Services’ as any service connected with the production, generation, storage, transmission, supply or distribution of water or electricity and any transportation service for the carriage of passengers or goods by motor vehicles.  It empowers the government to declare even those services that the State has powers to make laws for under List II of the 7th Schedule of the Constitution, as essential services.
As per the bill, upon conviction, those who commence a strike or continue to go on strike or take part in any strike will be penalized with a sentence up to 1 year or with fine up to Rs 5,000 or both. Those inciting or funding strikes also face the same punishment.  Those giving financial aid to illegal strike also will be booked under law.
The order will come into force for a period of 1 year from the date the government publishes the order. However, it can be extended up to 6 months.



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