The Supreme Court today issued an interim order not to issue licences to mountain guides on the basis of Nepal Mountaineering Association certification.

The Department of Tourism had issued a notice on March 10 stating that a mountaineering guide could obtain licence by submitting the certificate of mountaineering guide issued by the Council for Technical Education and Vocational Training or a red book provided by the NMA.

However, during a preliminary hearing of the writ petition filed against the DoT's decision, the bench of Chief Justice Cholendra Shamsher Rana issued an interim order not to implement the decision to provide licences to mountaineering guides on the basis NMA certification.

The Supreme Court has also ordered DoT to furnish a written explanation within 15 days why the licence should be issued on the basis of the red book provided by the NMA and what would happen if the provision was scrapped.

Prosecutors and defence lawyers have been called to the apex court to discuss the pros and cons of the licence issuance criteria set by the DoT on March 31.

Advocate Praveen Kharel, representing 43 people, had filed a writ petition in the Supreme Court against the DoT's criteria for providing licences to mountaineering guides.

The department had issued its first mountaineering guide licence on Tuesday to the record holder mountaineer Kami Rita Sherpa. So far, the department has received more than 150 applications for mountaineering guide licence.

A version of this article appears in the print on March 25, 2021, of The Himalayan Times.