279. Compensation for delay in sailing.-
(1) If a pilgrim ship fails to proceed from any port or place on the date advertised under 1[clause (b) of sub-section (5) of section 255] as the final date of sailing there from, the master, owner or agent shall become liable to pay as compensation to each pilgrim who has paid his passage money on or before such date the sum of three rupees for each completed day during which the sailing of the ship is delayed after that date: Provided that such compensation shall not be payable in respect of any period during which the departure of the ship is impossible owing to any cause not arising from the act or default of the master, owner or agent, and the burden of proving such cause shall lie on such master, owner or agent: Provided further that where compensation has been paid or has become payable to any pilgrim in respect of delay in the sailing of the ship from any port or place and the sailing of the ship from any other port or place is thereafter delayed beyond the date advertised in that behalf, the pilgrim shall be entitled to compensation only in respect of any period by which the duration of such further delay exceeds the duration of the delay in respect of which he has already received or become entitled to compensation.
(2) In the event of such failure the master, owner or agent shall be bound forthwith to inform the pilgrim officer at the port or place at which the delay occurs of the number of passage tickets of each class which have been issued for the voyage on or before the advertised final date of sailing.
(3) Any sum payable as compensation under sub-section (1) shall be paid on behalf of the pilgrims entitled thereto to the pilgrim officer at the port or place at which the delay occurs on receipt by the master, owner or agent of a notice from that officer specifying the sum payable, and that officer shall, in such manner as may be prescribed, pay to each such pilgrim the compensation paid in respect of his detention: Provided that, if an objection is made by the master, owner or agent that the sum specified in any such notice or any part of such sum is not payable by him, the sum paid or, as the case may be, the balance thereof remaining after payment to the pilgrim entitled thereto of compensation the right to which is not in dispute, shall be held in deposit until the objection has been decided: Provided further that, if for any reason the compensation due to any pilgrim cannot be paid to him at the time of embarkation or at or before the time of his disembarkation at the port of his destination, the sum so remaining unpaid shall be made over to such authority administering any fund maintained for the assistance of pilgrims as the Central Government may, by general or special order, designate in this behalf.
(4) If the master, owner or agent objects that the sum specified in the notice issued under sub-section (3) or any part thereof is not payable by him, he may, at the time of payment of such sum, give to the pilgrim officer notice of his objection, together with a statement of the grounds thereof, and the pilgrim officer shall thereupon either cancel or modify the aforesaid notice in accordance with the objection and refund the sum-held in deposit under sub-section (3), or refer the objection for decision to a 1[Metropolitan Magistrate or a Judicial Magistrate of the first class] exercising jurisdiction at the port or place at which the ship is delayed, whose decision on such reference shall be final; and there shall be refunded to the master, owner or agent any amount allowed to him by such decision.
(5) On the failure of any pilgrim ship to proceed from any port or place on the date advertised under 2[clause (b) of sub-section (5) of section 255] as the date of final sailing there from, the pilgrim officer at that port or place shall forthwith give notice of such failure to the officer authorised to grant port clearance to ships thereat, and such officer shall refuse port clearance to the pilgrim ship until the master, owner or agent produces to him a certificate of the pilgrim officer that all sums payable by way of compensation under this section up to the day on which the ship is to proceed have been paid.