In November, the Supreme Court ruled that women who have undergone gender reassignment surgery (GRS) are no longer legally allowed to be married and must live separately.
And now, in what has been hailed as a landmark decision, the court has overturned a lower court ruling that the procedure should not be legalised in the country.
The decision, which was announced on Thursday, overturns a lower-court ruling that a woman who has undergone GRS is no longer allowed to become a married woman.
It follows a case brought by a woman named Zakia Shastri in October, who claimed that her gender identity was affected by the surgery.
In a statement, the government said that it would take the decision “as soon as possible”, adding that the decision was based on a recommendation from the Supreme Council of Medical Advisory Committee (SCMC).
“The decision was taken by the SCMC after the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare reviewed the medical evidence and made a recommendation to the Ministry to not allow a woman to undergo GRS surgery, because she is still legally a married person,” the statement read.
The ruling was welcomed by the transgender rights organisation, Transgender Alliance, which said that the move would “give transgender women the same legal rights as other married women”. “
The Government has also decided to make a public announcement and launch a campaign to encourage women to make an informed decision.”
The ruling was welcomed by the transgender rights organisation, Transgender Alliance, which said that the move would “give transgender women the same legal rights as other married women”.
“It will give us the right to be able to be our true self and be in our own home, free from any harassment, discrimination and violence, including rape and sexual violence,” said Dr Lisa Green, who is director of the Transgender Alliance.
Transgender people, like all others, have the right not to be harassed, raped or killed, she said.
However, Dr Green said that while she did not agree with the decision to legalise GRS, it was “an important step”.
“There are more important things than legalising GRS and I am grateful that the Supreme court has acknowledged that,” she said, adding that it was important for transgender people to know their rights.
Dr Green added that she believed that the government was “moving forward with the right legal processes” to address the issues of transgender people and that “it will take a few years” to see the final result.
While there are no plans to legalising the procedure, Dr Shastrik, who also underwent the surgery, told The Associated Press news agency that she hoped the court would overturn the lower court decision.
But the SCMA said that since it was a lower judicial court ruling, it could not overturn the higher court’s decision.
“The SCMA has been the authority in all matters relating to transgender people in India for over a decade, but this is the first time that it has sought to change the law, because the Supreme Supreme Court is the supreme court of the land,” it said in a statement.
According to the SCMMC, in its 2015 report, the SCMG said the surgery was “not medically appropriate” and that it should be “not allowed to continue”.
The court also rejected the argument that women with gender dysphoria, who are “undisputedly transgender” and have not sought treatment, should be allowed to undergo surgery.
The SCMMCA said that although the court had given the matter “the weight it deserves”, it was still “impossible” to overturn the decision.
The decision is a victory for the transgender community in India, Dr Gopalakrishnan, an expert on gender and gender identity at the University of Michigan, told the Associated Press.
“They’ve been fighting for this for years.
They’re in a very difficult spot because they have to explain to their families and their community what’s going on and why this surgery is medically necessary,” he said.”
This decision has opened up a whole new space for transgender women and trans men, and I think that is a good thing.”
However Dr Shachar, a member of the transgender advocacy group Trans India, told Al Jazeera that the ruling was a “shame” for the Indian transgender community.
“It’s a very significant victory for us, because it’s a big step towards equality,” she told Aljazeera.
But in reality it’s just a small part of a much larger agenda.”