National Conference Vice President Omar Abdullah on Sunday said that Article 370 could not have been removed as it provided for the basis of Jammu and Kashmir’s accession to India, The Indian Express reported.

In 1947, the ruler of the princely state of Jammu and Kashmir, Maharaja Hari Singh, signed an agreement with India called the Instrument of Accession. Under the agreements, Jammu and Kashmir became a part of the Indian Union with the Centre’s law-making powers over the state restricted to just three subjects – defence, external affairs and communications.

Jammu and Kashmir was given this special status under Article 370 of the Indian Constitution.

On August 5, 2019, the Bharatiya Janata Party-led central government abrogated Article 370. Jammu and Kashmir was then split into two Union Territories – Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.

On Sunday, Abdullah told reporters that Article 370 was not given a permanent status based on a resolution passed in the United Nations Security Council.

“But thereafter when you say that Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India and it cannot be disintegrated from it, then you cannot remove that basis on which it had become an integral part of the country,” he argued, according to The Indian Express.

He refused to speak further on the matter, noting that it was sub-judice in the Supreme Court. “Let them start hearing and we will place our case before them,” the National Conference leader said.

Last month, a five-judge bench of the Supreme Court had agreed to consider listing a batch of petitions against the abrogation of Article 370 after the summer vacation, PTI reported. A total of 23 petitions filed by politicians, activists, retired civil servants and lawyers are pending before the court.

The Supreme Court will go on summer vacation from May 23 to July 10, according to the official calendar.