V.B. Raju, J.
1. The conviction in this appeal mainly rests on the evidence of Mr. Joshi, the District Co-operative Officer, Jamnagar, who made the inquiry and investigation upon being directed by the Assistant Registrar, Co-operative Societies, Jamnagar. The appellant is himself a member of the Co-operative Society. Mr. Joshi is a District Co-operative Officer. The expression 'person in authority' used in Section 24 of the Indian Evidence Act has to be construed liberally and widely so as to include any person who can interfere in the matter of the prosecution of the accused. In this view, Mr. Joshi, the District Co-operative Officer, Jamnagar, must be held to be a person in authority with respect to the accused, who is a member of the Cooperative Society, particularly because Mr. Joshi was investigating the case upon the orders of the Assistant Registrar of Co-operative Societies, Jamnagar. The same view has been taken in Reg v. Navroji Dadabhai 9 Bombay High Court Reports 358 and Empemr v. Fakira Appaya I.L.R. 40 Bom. 220. The statement also was taken on oath.
2. It must, therefore, be held that the confessional statement must be excluded under Section 24 of the Indian Evidence Act. If the statement is excluded, then the conviction cannot be justified. The conviction and sentence of the appellant are therefore set aside and the appeal is allowed.