Former Delhi High Court judge and Chief Justice of the Orissa High Court, Justice S Muralidhar said Saturday that he was "clueless" about what in his judgement in the Delhi riots case 'upset' the union government that led to his immediate transfer out of the Delhi High Court..Any other judge in his place should have done the same since it was the right thing to do, he added..Justice Muralidhar, who retired as the Chief Justice of the Orissa High Court on August 7 this year, was responding to a question from the audience at the annual conclave organized by South First in Bangalore.The retired judge was in a discussion with Senior Advocate Sanjay Hegde on the topic “Who wins who loses in the Judicary-Executive faceoff.” At the end of the session, an audience member asked the judge if he had anything to say about how his midnight hearing and the consequent judgment in the Delhi riots case that led to his immediate transfer to the Punjab and Haryana High Court."I don’t know what is it about my judgement that upset the government. Every other colleague of mine in the Delhi High Court would have done the same thing. Any other judge in my place would have, or should have done the same thing. So, I am as clueless as you are, about what upset them, that is, if at all they were upset? But it does not matter, as it was the right thing to do," Justice Muralidhar said..The judge also spoke about the prevalent belief that the executive yielded an unhealthy control over the judiciary and that appointments to the high courts and the Supreme Court were often not made in a transparent manner.“This is a question that we constantly ask ourselves and we have a set of answers. Like most in the audience will subscribe to the view that when there is a strong executive, there will be a weak judiciary, and vice versa. But if you read history through the eyes of serious researchers like George Gadbois, the book he has written in two parts, first of which came in his name and the second which came in Abhinav Chandrachud’s name, the book ‘Supreme Whispers,’ you will find that there have been times in India’s judiciary when we have had a strong executive and the perceptible shift happened in 1971..when the Congress came back to 352 seats in the loksabha and a perceptible shift in the appointment to the Supreme Court took place. If you read all of that, you will get a sense of dejavu," Justice Muralidhar said.In both these systems the pre-1993 system where the executive had a say in appointment of judges, and 1993 onwards when the Collegium came into place, judges have had to walk a very tight rope, he added..The judge went on to say that while this tussle between the judiciary and the executive was not new, how the judiciary retained its independence, depended much on individual judges especially the Chief Justice of India..“So, it is then that it comes down to the individual. To whoever is the Chief Justice of India at that given time. For instance, see who was the CJI in 1971? Was he able to withstand the pressures he was facing from the executive. You look at a time that is very interesting. Justice Chandrachud senior (Justice YV Chandrachud)..He had seven and a half years. So, he had to do a lot of tight rope walking. For instance, he couldn’t get Justice Chandurkar in. He couldn’t get several really good judges in, or, he couldn’t get them at a time that he wanted them at. And there were pressures and pulls from several directions on who should come in first, who should come in next,” Justice Muralidhar said..He also spoke about the need for developing a mechanism that would set qualification criteria for one to be elevated as a judge of High Court. He went on to say that as the Chief Justice of a High Court, one can observe the skills, objectivity and integrity of lawyers everyday and hence, when nominating a name for elevation, the Chief Justice and other collegium members must keep these qualities of such lawyer in mind. ."You constantly watch lawyers perform before you and you get a sense of how capable they are of being objective and fair. Lawyers who are not overstating anything, who are cautious of not misleading the courts, who help the courts arrive at good judgements. They are the ones capable of helping to develop the law and not lead the courts to make a mistake. Those are the traits you are looking for," Justice Muralidhar said..Justice Muralidhar also spoke for the need of a mandatory "cooling off period" for every judge before taking up a post retirement job.