ESSENTIAL SERVICES MAINTENANCE ACT 1968
THE ESSENTIAL SERVICES MAINTENANCE ACT,1968
ACT No. 59 OF 1968
28th December, 1968
An Act to provide for the maintenance ofcertain essential services and the normal life of the community
BE it enacted by Parliament in theNineteenth Year of the Republicof India as follows: –
1.Short title extent and duration: (1) This Act may be called the EssentialServices Maintenance Act, 1968.
(2) It extends to the whole of India;
Provided that it shall not apply to theState of Jammu and Kashmirexcept to the extent to which the provisions of this Act relate to Unionemployees.
(3) It shall cease to have effect on theexpiry of three years from the date of commencement of this Act except asrespects things done or omitted to be done before such ceasserof operation of this Act, and section 6 of the General Clause Act, 1897(10 of1987), shall apply upon such ceasser of operation ofthis Act as if it had then been repealed by a Central Act.
2.Definitions: (1) In this Act, –
(a) "essentialservice" means-
(i) any postal,telegraph or telephone service;
(ii) any railway service or any othertransport service for the carriage of passengers or goods by land, water or airrespect to which Parliament has power has power to make laws;
(iii) any serviceconnected with the operation or maintenance of aerodromes or with theoperation, repair or maintenance of aircraft;
(iv) any serviceconnected with the loading, unloading, movement or storage of goods in anypart;
(v) any serviceconnected with the clearance of goods or passengers through the customs or withthe prevention of smuggling;
(vi) any servicein any mint or security press;
(vii) any servicein any defence establishment of the Government ofIndia;
(viii) any servicein connection with the affairs of the Union,not being a service specified in any of the foregoing sub-clauses;
(ix) any other service connected withmaters with respect to which Parliament has power to make laws and which theCentral Government being of opinion that strikes therein would prejudiciallyaffect safety or the maintenance of supplies and services necessary for thelife of the community or would result in the infliction of grave hardship onthe community, may , by notification in the OfficialGazette, declare to be an essential service for the purpose of this Act;
(b) "strike" means the cessationof work by a body of persons employed in any essential service acting incombination or a concerted refusal or a refusal under a common understanding ofany number of persons who are or have been so employed to continue to work orto accept employment, and includes-
(i) refusal towork overtime where such work is necessary for the maintenance of any essentialservice;
(ii) any other conduct which is likely toresult in, or results in, cessation or substantial retardation of work in anyessential service.
(2) Every notification issued undersub-clause (ix) of clause (a) of sub-section (1) shall be laid before eachHouse of Parliament immediately after it is made if it is in session and on thefirst day of the commencement of the next session of the House if it is notin session, and shall cease to operateat the expiration of forty days from the date of its being so laid or from there-assembly of Parliament, as the case may be, unless before the expiration ofthat period a resolution approving the issue of the notification is passed byboth Houses of Parliament.
Explanation: Where the Houses of Parliamentare summoned to re-assemble on different dates, the period of forty days shallbe reckoned from the later of those dates.
3.Power to prohibit strikes in certainemployments: (1) If the CentralGovernment is satisfied that in the public interest it is necessary orexpedient so to do, it may, general or special order, prohibit strikes in zanyessential services specified in the Order.
(2) An Order made under sub-section (1)shall be published in such manner as the Central Government considers bestcalculated to bring it to the notice of the persons affected by the Order;
(3) An Order made under sub-section (1)shall be in force for six months only, but the Central Government may, by alike Order, extend it for any period not exceeding six months if it issatisfied that in the public interest it is necessary or expedient so to do.
(4) Upon the issue of an Order undersub-section (1)-
(a) no personemployed in any essential service to which the Order relates shall go or remainon strike;
(b) any strikedeclared or commenced, whether before or after the issue of the Order, bypersons employed in any such service shall be illegal.
4.Penalty for illegal strikes: Any person who commences a strike which isillegal under this Act or goes or remains on, or otherwise takes part in anysuch strike shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extendto six months, or with fine which may extend to two hundred rupees or withboth.
5.Penalty for instigation etc: Anyperson who instigates, or incites other persons to take part in, or otherwiseacts in furtherance of, a strike which is illegal under this Act shall bepunishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to one year, or finewhich may extend to one thousand rupees, or with both.
6.Penalty for giving financial aid to illegal strikes: Any person who knowingly expends or suppliesany money in furtherance or support of a strike which is illegal under this Actshall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to one yearor with fine which may extend to one thousand rupees, or with both.
7.Power to arrest without warrant: Notwithstanding anything contained inthe Code of Criminal Procedure, 1898 (5 of 1898), any police officer may arrestwithout warrant any person who is reasonably suspected of having committed anyoffence under this Act;
8.Act to override other laws: The provisions of this Act and of any Orderissued thereunder shall have effect notwithstandinganything inconsistent therewith contained in the Industrial Dispute Act, 1947(14 of 1947), or in any other law for the time being in force.
9.Repeal and saving: (1) The Essential Services Maintenance Ordinance, 1968(9 of 1968), is hereby repealed.
(2) Notwithstanding such repeal, anythingdone or any action taken under the said Ordinance shall be deemed to have beendone or taken under this Act, as if this Act come into force on the 13th day ofSeptember, 1968.