The word ‘cooperative’ means ‘working together’ with others for a common purpose. The cooperative society is a voluntary association of persons, who join together with the motive of welfare of the members. The membership of a cooperative society is voluntary. A person is free to join a cooperative society and can also leave anytime without any compulsion. The decision-making' power in a cooperative society lies in the hands of an elected managing committee. Every member has one vote and this right to vote gives the members a chance to elect the members of the managing * committee.
All these features lend the cooperative society a democratic character. Further, the membership of a cooperative society is open to all, irrespective of their religion, caste and gender. The cooperative society through its purpose lays emphasis on the values of mutual help and welfare. These features prove the secular nature of cooperative societies.