HC stays state govt's ESMA order on Metro staff

HC stays state govt's ESMA order on Metro staff

The Karnataka High Court on Saturday granted a stay on the state government order of imposing the Karnataka Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA) 2013 to prohibit BMRCL staff from going on strike.

Justice Veerappa stayed the order after hearing a petition filed by the BMRCL employees union. A notice was also issued to both the Central and the state governments besides BMRCL.

The BMRCL staff had boycotted work following a clash between the Metro staff and the Karnataka Industrial Security Force (KISF) personnel in July 2017. Following this, the state government issued a notification under the ESMA Act banning the strike and disruption of Metro rail services.

This led to the BMRCL union to move the court challenging the imposition contending that the state government does not have the authority to impose ESMA as BMRCL does not come under the State Act but is a covered under the Essential Services Maintenance Act 1981 falling under the Central government.

According to the petitioner, the state government does not have the authority to impose a notification banning the strike as the Metro rail service does not come under the control of the state government. The petitioner argues that the notification prevented BMRCL employees from exercising their rights under the Industrial Disputes Act.

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