Essential Service Maintenance Act (ESMA) is an act to provide for the maintenance of certain essential services and the normal life of the community in India.
It was enacted by the Indian Parliament in the nineteenth year of the Republic of India i.e. 1968.
The Essential Services Maintenance Act, 1968, was enacted to provide for “the maintenance of certain essential services and the normal life of the community”.
It extends to the whole of India except Jammu and Kashmir.
ESMA enables the Government to ban strikes and demand conciliation or arbitration in certain “essential” industries. However, the interpretation of “essential services” varies from state to state. Legal mechanisms exist for challenging a decision taken under the terms of this Act if a dispute arises.