Published on: July 15, 2021



What is in news : Recently, the government introduced the Essential Defence Services Bill, 2021 in Lok Sabha.

What are Essential Defence Services :

  • Any service in any establishment or undertaking dealing with production of goods or equipment required for defence
  • Any establishment of the armed forces or connected with them or defence
  • Includes services that, if ceased, would affect the safety of the establishment engaged in such services or its employees
  • Government may declare any service as an essential defence service if its cessation would affect the:
    • Production of defence equipment or goods.
    • Operation or maintenance of industrial establishments or units engaged in such production.
    • Repair or maintenance of products connected with defence.


  • Replaces the ordinance issued in June 2021 and prohibits any agitation and strike by anyone engaged in the essential defence services.
  • Defines cessation as
    • Mass casual leave.
    • Coordinated refusal of any number of persons to continue to work or accept employment.
    • Refusal to work overtime, where such work is necessary for maintenance of essential defence services.
    • Any other conduct which results in, or is likely to result in, disruption of work in essential defence services.
  • May prohibit strikes, lock-outs, and lay-offs in units engaged in essential defence services.
  • Employers violating the prohibition order through illegal lock-outs or lay-offs will be punished with up to one year imprisonment or Rs 10,000 fine, or both.


Right to Strikes : Right to strike is recognized under Article 19(1) the Constitution of India , which guarantees the protection of certain freedoms as fundamental rights such as:

  • Freedom of speech and expression.
  • Assemble peaceably and without arms.
  • Form associations or unions.
  • Move freely throughout the territory of India.
  • Reside and settle in any part of the territory of India.
  • Practise any profession, or to carry on any occupation, trade or business.