President promulgates Essential Defence Services Ordinance, 2021

On June 30, 2021, the President promulgates Essential Defence Services Ordinance, 2021 in order to provide the maintenance of essential defence services.

Key features of the Ordinance:

  1. “essential defence services” means

(i) any service in any establishment or undertaking dealing with production of goods or equipment required for any purpose connected with defence;

(ii) any service in any establishment of, or connected with, the armed forces of the Union or in any other establishment or installation connected with defence;

(iii) any service in any section of any establishment connected with defence, on the working of which the safety of such establishment or employee employed therein depends;

(iv) any other services, as the Central Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, declare to be essential defence sservices, the cessation of work of which would prejudicially affect the-

(a) production of defence equipment or goods; or

(b) operation or maintenance of any industrial establishment or unit engaged in production of goods or equipment required for any purpose connected with defence; or

(c) repair or maintenance of products connected with defence;

2. The Ordinance provides power to Central Government to prohibit strikes in essential defence services in case of

  • public interest;
  • interest of sovergnity and integrity of India;
  • security of any State;
  • public order;
  • decency; or
  • morality.

3. The Ordinance provides dismissal of employees participating in illegal strikes in case any employee commences a illegal strike or instigates or incites other persons to commence or go or remain on or otherwise take part in any such strike.

4. The Ordinance provides for penalty for illegal strikes i.e. Imprisonment for a term which may extend to one year or with fine which may extend to ten thousand rupees, or with both.

5. The Ordinance provides power to Central Government to prohibit lockouts in any industrial establishment or unit engaged in essential defence services in cases of-

  • public interest;
  • interest of sovergnity and integrity of India;
  • security of any State;
  • public order;
  • decency; or
  • morality.

6. The Ordinance provides power to Central Government to prohibit lay-off in any industrial establishment or unit engaged in essential defence services.

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