SC vacates govt rule to bar double amputee, blind persons from climbing Mt Everest

KATHMANDU: The Supreme Court today vacated the government’s decision to bar double amputee and visually impaired persons from climbing mountains, including Mt Everest, the world’s highest peak.

Issuing a final verdict on a writ petition filed by Madhav Prasad Chamlagain, a constitutional bench of five justices led by Chief Justice Deepak Raj Joshee issued a verdict vacating the revised clause of the mountaineering expedition regulation that bars double amputee and visually impaired persons from climbing mountains.

Chamlagain, who also represents persons with disabilities in the central executive board of the Federation of Nepali Journalists, registered a case challenging the government’s recent move to insert a sub clause in the revised mountaineering expedition regulation to bar double amputee and visually impaired persons from obtaining climbing permit. He also demanded for the annulment of such provision to ensure rights of the persons with disabilities.

The SC has accepted the petitioner’s claim to vacate the government decision, advocate Rewat Prasad Kharel, who pleaded on behalf of Chamlagain, told THT. Earlier, SC had issued a stay order in the name of government not to implement the revised clause of the regulation, allowing double amputee and visually impaired persons to obtain climbing permits to attempt to climb any mountain above 6,500 metres, he added.

The petitioner also argued that the specific clause of the mountaineering expedition regulation violated human rights as granted by the constitution as well as the United Nations' convention on the rights of persons with disabilities.

Reacting to the court order, Chamlagain said, “SC’s verdict comes in favour of the persons with disabilities who constitute around 15 per cent of the world population.” The verdict also ensured rights of the differently-abled persons, he added.

Climbing fraternity also hailed the SC’s decision. Former British Gurkha soldier Hari Budha Magar, who aims to be the first above the knee double amputee to climb Mt Everest in 2019, said the Supreme Court delivered justice to the differently-abled persons.

Visually impaired climber Amit KC said that he also planned to scale Mt Everest next spring season. KC, who had abandoned his bid after reaching above 8,000m on Mt Everest last year, welcomed the SC’s verdict. “I have also moved to the Apex Court for the annulment of the government’s provision,” he said, adding that the SC would hear his case in mid-July.