If the local population has a custom or belief system about the peak, but does not necessarily bar access, then stopping a few feet short of the top seems a reasonable thing to do. I have done the same on some Indian Reservation summits in AZ/UT.
The gods, whoever they may be, caused me to twist my ankle descending Navajo Mtn in Utah a few years ago. I summitted but did not actually tag the top rock, just standing beside it. But I didn't have a permit. It seemed like a fair trade to me.
Consider the scenario that you have climbed many thousands of feet or meters, then get to a broad (non-sacred) summit with a few rock piles and spires here and there, and to the best of your ability you tagged them all, but the terrain is such that you couldn't know for certain if you got the highest one... but you knew for certain you couldn't have missed it by more than a foot. So, do you count the peak as climbed or not? Would any reasonable person debate over such a trivial detail?
If these climbers were 1 m below the summit, but between them and the summit was a deep chasm, then I'd think differently. Here, I believe it is perfectly acceptable what they did and deserve the credit.