1. The Essential Services Maintenance Act (Esma) was enacted in 1968, to maintain "certain essential services and the normal life of the community.
2. It extends to the whole of India: Provided that it shall not apply to the State of Jammu and Kashmir except to the extent to which the provisions of this Act relate to Union employees.
3. The Act includes a long list of "essential services" in its charter -- ranging from post and telegraph, through railway, airport and port operations -- and it prohibits the key employees in these services from striking.
4. ESMA gives police the right to arrest, without a warrant, anybody violating the Act's provisions.
5. Any person who commences a strike or otherwise takes part in any such strike shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to six months, or with fine which may extend to two hundred rupees, or with both.
6. Any person who instigates a strike which is illegal under this Act shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to one year, or with fine which may extend to one thousand rupees, or with both.