Lucknow: The Yogi Adityanath government in Uttar Pradesh (UP) on Friday banned any strike by employees in state universities and colleges till 30 June under the stringent Essential Services Maintenance Act, 1968 (ESMA).

ESMA gives police the powers to arrest, without a warrant, anybody violating the Act’s provisions.

A UP government order said that any strike in these higher education institutions will remain banned “in public interest" for a period of three months till 30 June. The period has been chosen keeping in mind the busy academic calendar as a number of examinations are scheduled in these three months.

“The ban will be applicable to all services in universities, constituent colleges and affiliate colleges," according to an official release in Lucknow.

Uttar Pradesh has around 30 state universities, besides 25 private and 10 deemed varsities. Under ESMA, employees in “essential services" are strictly prohibited from going on strike.

The Act allows the states to choose the essential services on which ESMA can be invoked. Under its provisions, any person taking part in a strike shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term of up to six months. Any person who instigates a strike which is illegal under the Act shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term of up to one year, as per provisions of the 1968 Act.