New Delhi: The Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) on Wednesday dismissed an appeal by news and music broadcasters to stop the implementation of a Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) rule that limits television advertisements to 12 minutes per hour.

The tribunal said the matter does not fall under its jurisdiction. “In light of the judgement of the Honourable Supreme Court, the tribunal does not have the jurisdiction to entertain a challenge to the regulations framed by Trai under section 36 of the Trai Act… In this view the appeal is not maintainable and dismissed," it ruled.

However, TDSAT said the appellants or the aggrieved parties could challenge the validity of Trai’s regulations before the high court.

Last week, the Supreme Court ordered that TDSAT cannot admit petitions challenging the rules laid down by the industry regulator, ending judicial proceedings at the tribunal that were initiated by telecom firms and broadcasters.

Advocate Anup J. Bhambhani, representing news channel grouping the News Broadcasters Association (NBA)—one of the appellants in the case—said the association will likely move the high court. “We will contemplate our move to approach the high court as soon as possible. All the 26 members (of NBA) need to be on board before the decision is finalized," he added.

Ashok Venkatramani, chief executive officer (CEO) of Media Content and Communications Services (India) Pvt. Ltd which operates ABP News, and vice-president of NBA, agreed that members need to take a collective decision. “Though the lawyers think that they will move to high court, the NBA members will have to meet before deciding on precisely how to move forward," he said.

NBA secretary general Annie Joseph said approaching the high court is the next logical step once discussions within NBA are over. “Going by the Supreme Court order that is the option we have," she said.

News broadcaster NDTV Ltd’s CEO Vikram Chandra said the company will go with the NBA’s decision.

Trai counsel Saket Singh explained the implication of the order as “this means that the Trai regulations are in force".

In August, Trai took several broadcasters to the chief metropolitan magistrate at the Patiala House courts in Delhi for ignoring the advertising limits notified by the regulatory authority in May 2012. This led the broadcasters to appeal in TDSAT to question Trai’s jurisdiction on limiting the ads.

Several channel heads have protested the limits set on advertising per programming hour, claiming it would force them out of business. In an earlier interview with Mint, ABP News’ Venkatramani had said, “The situation for news channels is indeed very grave. This will reduce the saleable inventory to less than half of the current levels for news channels."

Venkatesh Upadhyay contributed to this story.