The Karnataka state assembly on 4 December 2013 passed the Karnataka Essential Services Maintenance (ESMA) Bill 2013.
According to the new bill, striking work will be a non-bailable offence and police can arrest a striking employee without warrant. The Bill, popularly known as ESMA, is to put an end to employees working in water, power, health, transport and service sectors going on strikes, inconveniencing people.
Provisions under the ESMA Bill 2013
• As per the ESMA Bill 2013, the definition of essential services includes 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.
• The new legislation gives government the power 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.
• Upon conviction, those who commence a strike or continue to go on strike or takes part in any strike will be punished with a sentence up to one year or with fine up to 5000 rupees or both.
• The order will come into force for a period of one year from the date the government publishes the order. However, it can be extended up to six months.
The last time the state government invoked ESMA was in 1996 when KSRTC employees went on strike. But the law lapsed in 2004.
What: Karnataka ESMA Bill 2013
When: 4 December 2013