Surface of 304 AISI austenitic stainless steel has been modified using duplex treatment technique of nitriding and carbonitriding. A thick modified nitrided layer, of approximately 20 μm, has been achieved when rf inductively coupled plasma was adjusted at 450 W for processing time of only 10 min. After performing the nitrided layer, the nitrided samples were carbonitrided using the same technique at different acetylene partial pressure ratios ranges from 10% to 70%, the balance was pure nitrogen. Different amount of nitrogen and carbon species are diffused underneath the surface through the nitrided layer during carbonitriding process and are found to be gas composition dependent. The treated samples were characterized by glow discharge optical spectroscopy, X-ray diffractometry, scanning electron microscopy and Vickers microhardness tester. The microstructure of the duplex treated layer indicates the formation of γ'-Fe4N, Fe3C, CrN and nitrogen-expanded austenite (γN). The thickness of the duplex treated layer increases with increasing the acetylene partial pressure ratio. The surface microhardness of duplex treated samples has been found to be gas composition dependent and increased by 1.29 fold in comparison to the nitrided sample.