1. The assessee in these petitions under section 27(3) of the Wealth-tax Act seeks a direction to refer the following two questions for the opinion of this court :
'(1) Whether, on the facts and in the circumstances of the case, the Tribunal was right in holding that since the assessee-association is an independent juristic entity, it ceases to be an association of persons and that it has to be assessed under the Wealth tax Act
(2) Whether, on the facts and in the circumstances of the case, the Tribunal was right in holding that the assessee-association is not an association of persons and that the word 'individual' used in the Wealth-tax Act governs the same ?'
2. The assessee in this case is a trade union registered under the Indian Trade Unions Act. The Wealth-tax Officer assessed the assessee under the Wealth-tax Act in the status of an association of persons. The assessee preferred an appeal before the Appellate Assistant Commissioner contending that no assessment of wealth-tax could be made on the assessee as an association of persons. The Appellate Assistant Commissioner accepted the assessee's case and cancelled the assessment of Wealth-tax for the years 1972-73 to 1975-76. As against the said order, the Revenue went before the Tribunal. Later, the Wealth-tax Officer made assessment on the assessee under the Wealth-tax Act in the status of an individual. The said order was again challenged, but the Tribunal has upheld the validity of the said assessment in the status of an individual on the ground that the definition 'individual' occurring in the Act will take in a trade union such as the assessee which is a body corporate with a perpetual succession. The question is, whether the view taken by the Tribunal could be sustained by law.
3. We find that the question is no longer res integra. In Coimbatore Club v. WTO  153 ITR 172, the Division Bench of this court to which one of us was a party has dealt with in detail the scope of the expression 'individual' occurring in section 3 of the Wealth-tax Act and took the view that it would take in not only an individual but also a plurality of individuals, which in turn would include a body or group of persons forming a single collective unit knit together by ties of common aim and joint interest, who owned property. As a matter of fact, in the said decision, the court has disagreed with the view of the Gujarat High Court in Orient Club v. WTO : 123ITR395(Guj) , on which reliance has been placed by the assessee before the Appellate Assistant Commissioner, the Tribunal as well as this court.
4. In view of the said decision of this court, which covers the questions sought to be referred, we are of the view that no reference could be ordered in these cases. Hence, the petitions are dismissed.