To curb illegal strikes and ensure delivery of essential services to the people, the Assembly on Wednesday passed the Karnataka Essential Services Maintenance Bill 2013. Members of the principal Opposition Janata Dal (Secular) opposed the Bill and staged a walkout after terming the Bill “dangerous and aimed at misusing powers”.

The Bill envisages prohibition of refusal to work in certain essential services related to production, generation, storage, transmission, supply or distribution of water, electricity, transport services for the carriage of passengers or goods by motor vehicles, and any other service.

Following suggestions from the Union government, the State government withdrew the Karnataka Essential Services Maintenance Bill 2009 passed by the legislature during the BJP regime.

Explaining the features of the new Bill, Minister for Transport R. Ramalinga Reddy said that under the new law, any police officer may arrest, without warrant, any person who is reasonably suspected of having committed any offence and come in the way of delivery of essential services. All offences under the Act will be non-bailable, he said.

He said that Kerala, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and Odisha have already implemented such a law to curb illegal strikes.

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