Non-availability of public prosecutors has a direct nexus with the administration of the criminal justice, the Karnataka High Court opined on Friday, directing the State Government to take immediate steps to fill up all vacant posts of public prosecutors in the State. .A Bench of Chief Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka and Justice Suraj Govindaraj further said that lack of adequate number of public prosecutors is one of the reasons for increase in pendency of cases. ."Non-availability of public prosecutors has a direct nexus with the administration of the criminal justice system in the state. Apart from the fact that delay in conducting trial defeats the fundamental rights of accused, lack of availability of adequate number of public prosecutors is one of the several causes for increase in pendency of case," the Court said in its order. .The Court further noted that despite several orders, there were still large number of posts of public prosecutors lying vacant. "This suo-motu petition was initiated in September 2019, when it was found that a large number of posts of public prosecutors were vacant in the state. Notwithstanding several orders passed during the last 21 months, still a large number of posts continue to be vacant," the Bench noted. .The State government had filed a chart before the Court showing the number of vacancies of prosecutors in the state. The Court was told that out of 189 regular posts of public prosecutors, 168 are filled and 21 posts are vacant. Further, of the 28 posts of public prosecutors are on deputation, 25 posts are filled up. The situation regarding posts of Senior Assistant Public Prosecutors was more grim with only 65 of the 123 posts filled up. .Out of the 28 deputation posts of Senior Assistant Public Prosecutors, appointments had been made only to 5. Regarding 401 Assistant Public Prosecutors' posts, only 151 posts had regular appointees while 242 posts were filled on contract basis. "Therefore, notwithstanding orders passed by this court from time to time from September 27, 2019, till date a large number of posts of various categories of public prosecutors remain vacant. Non-availability of sufficient public prosecutors may result in violation of the Rights of accused guaranteed under Article 21, to have a speedy trial," the Court said. .During the course of the hearing, the Court was informed of an affidavit filed by the Under Secretary of the State Home Department which highlighted that the Finance Department has sought to create additional sanctioned posts of 16 Public Prosecutors, 16 Senior Assistant Public Prosecutors and 184 Assistant Public Prosecutors. The Court was further told that the same would be done within 12 months..The government also informed the court that the posts of Senior Assistant Public Prosecutors cannot be filled on contract basis, in view of an interim order passed by the Karnataka Administrative Tribunal. .In this regard, the Court said,"There is no restraint on appointing Senior Assistant public prosecutors on contract basis. However, the state after going through the record will ascertain whether any prohibitory order is operating. If no such prohibitory order is operating, it is obvious that subject to the outcome of pending proceedings, the state can appoint Senior Assistant Public Prosecutors on contract basis. As regards assistant public prosecutor process has to be for filling in all 254 vacancies. The process which is initiated only against 205 vacancies. We therefore, direct the state to initiate a process for remaining vacancies as well." The State government was directed to file a compliance report by August 24. The matter will be taken up again on August 27.