KATHMANDU, March 8: The Supreme Court on Wednesday permitted the visually impaired and the disabled to scale Mt Everest, suspending implementation of government regulations that banned them from such climbs.
Issuing an interim order to put on hold the recently amended regulations relating to mountaineering expeditions which had barred visually impaired and physically disabled individuals from climbing, the apex court gave them the go ahead to scale the mountains despite their physical disabilities.
A five-member constitutional bench comprising Chief Justice Gopal Parajuli and Justices Deepak Raj Joshi, Om Prakash Mishra, Cholendra SJB Rana and Deepak Kumar Karki issued the interim order, following hearings on Wednesday.
Stating that the provision of the mountaineering regulations that is at issue violates the right of citizens to move from one place to another and live as dignified citizens just like other people, senior advocate Yadunath Khanal and advocates Rewat Kharel and Kumud Bhattarai pleaded on behalf of physically disabled Madhav Prasad Chamlagain. Similarly, advocates Ananta Raj Luitel and Bikash Bhattarai argued on behalf of Chitra Bahadur Khatri Chhetri alias Amit KC for suspending implementation of the controversial provision of the regulations. The petitioners were barred from scaling Everest following amendment of the regulations.
They stated that the government had amended the regulations when they were already making final preparations for the climb and had already spent a lot of money. They had also prepared themselves mentally for tackling the world's highest peak.
"I am so happy with this order as I shall now be able to reach my destination," KC told Republica. According to him, he has already invested in the preparations and in training. The climbing season for this year is going to start very soon .
"I had already climbed up to the South Col on Everest last year but tuned back due to limited oxygen ," he added.