Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Duties of the House of Justice

Among the duties of the local house of justice are to provide for the education of a child whose parents are too destitute to afford schooling (K48). He singles out the "deputies," obviously of the local house of justice, as responsible for providing welfare to those incapable of earning a living (K147, p. 72). Adulterers are to be punished by a fine, payable to the house of justice; such a fine would probably be levied and paid at the local level (K49, p. 37). Indeed, a third of all fines is to be paid to the "Seat of Justice" (K52, p. 38). Since the logistics of sending one third of all local fines to the World Center of the Baha'i faith appear forebidding, it seems likely that this verse also pertains primarily to the local house of justice (an important point to which we shall return). In the absence of male offspring, Baha'u'llah says, two-thirds of the estate go to female heirs, while one third goes to the house of justice, "which God hath made to be the treasury of the people" (QA72, p. 128). For the same reason, of logistics, probably the local house of justice is intended. The trustees of the house of justice are to appoint in every city a judge,one of whose duties will be to decide and record divorces.

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